The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation created by the European Union (EU) in 2016 to protect the personal data of its citizens. The GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018, and it applies to all businesses that process the personal data of EU citizens, regardless of their location. The regulation aims to give individuals more control over their personal data and to strengthen the privacy rights of EU citizens.
If you’re new to GDPR, here’s a beginner’s guide to help you understand its key principles and requirements.
What is personal data under GDPR?
The GDPR defines personal data as any information that can directly or indirectly identify an individual. This includes but is not limited to names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, and biometric data.
Key principles of GDPR
The GDPR is based on several key principles that govern the processing of personal data. These principles include:
Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency: Businesses must process personal data lawfully, fairly, and transparently, and provide clear and concise information to data subjects.
Purpose limitation: Personal data must be collected for specific, explicit, and legitimate purposes, and must not be processed in a way that is incompatible with these purposes.
Data minimization: Personal data must be adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which it is processed.
Accuracy: Personal data must be accurate and kept up to date, and inaccurate or incomplete data must be erased or rectified.
Storage limitation: Personal data must be kept for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed.
Integrity and confidentiality: Personal data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction, or damage.
Accountability: Businesses must demonstrate compliance with the GDPR by keeping records of their data processing activities and implementing appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data.
What are the requirements of GDPR?
The GDPR places several requirements on businesses that process the personal data of EU citizens. These include:
Consent: Businesses must obtain the explicit consent of data subjects before collecting, processing, or transferring their personal data.
Data subject rights: Data subjects have several rights under GDPR, including the right to access their personal data, the right to rectify inaccurate or incomplete data, the right to erasure (also known as the “right to be forgotten”), and the right to object to the processing of their personal data.
Data protection officer: Businesses that process large amounts of personal data must appoint a data protection officer (DPO) to ensure compliance with GDPR.
Data breaches: Businesses must report any data breaches that pose a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects to the relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.
International data transfers: Businesses that transfer personal data outside the EU must ensure that the country to which the data is transferred provides an adequate level of data protection.
Privacy by design: Businesses must implement technical and organizational measures to ensure that personal data is processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security.
Data processing agreements: Businesses must have written agreements in place with any third-party vendors or service providers that process personal data on their behalf. These agreements must ensure that the third-party provider complies with GDPR.
Data protection impact assessments: Businesses must conduct data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) when processing personal data that pose a high risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects. The DPIA must identify the risks and evaluate the measures that can be taken to mitigate them.
Employee training: Businesses must provide training to employees on GDPR and data protection to ensure that they are aware of the principles and requirements of GDPR and how to handle personal data.
Data subject consent: Consent from data subjects must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. It must be given by clear affirmative action, such as ticking a box and not by silence or pre-ticked boxes.
Data portability: Data subjects have the right to receive their personal data in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format and have the right to transmit the data to another data controller.
Territorial scope: GDPR applies to businesses that process the personal data of individuals in the EU, regardless of the location of the business. Even if a business is located outside the EU, it must comply with GDPR if it processes the personal data of EU citizens.
It’s important to note that GDPR is an ongoing process, and businesses must regularly review and update their data protection policies and practices to ensure compliance. Failure to comply with GDPR can result in hefty fines of up to 4% of a business’s global annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is higher. Moreover, businesses that fail to comply with GDPR may face legal action and harm to their reputation, which can lead to loss of customers and revenue.
GDPR is a crucial regulation that businesses must take seriously. Compliance with GDPR can help businesses gain the trust of their customers, protect their reputations, and avoid hefty fines. By understanding the key principles and requirements of GDPR, businesses can implement appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the regulation and protect the personal data of EU citizens. The GDPR is a complex regulation that has significant implications for businesses that process the personal data of EU citizens. Failure to comply with GDPR can result in hefty fines and damage to a business’s reputation. It’s crucial for businesses to understand the key principles and requirements of GDPR and implement appropriate measures to ensure compliance. This guide serves as a starting point for businesses looking to understand the basics of GDPR.