The General Data Protection Regulation in a nutshell

March 22, 2016
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After more than three years of discussion the EU General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR framework has been finally agreed on. This directive will replace the current 1998 Data Protection Act. As with most major legislative change it will not be enforced immediately and will likely become compulsory at the first half of 2018.  The main intent of the GDPR is to give individuals more control over their personal data, impose stricter rules to companies handling it and make sure companies embrace new technology to process the influx of data produced.

After more than three years of discussion the EU General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR framework has been finally agreed on. This directive will replace the current 1998 Data Protection Act. As with most major legislative change it will not be enforced immediately and will likely become compulsory at the first half of 2018.  The main intent of the GDPR is to give individuals more control over their personal data, impose stricter rules to companies handling it and make sure companies embrace new technology to process the influx of data produced. Here are the major changes that are mentioned in this new legislation:

  • Expanded territorial reach

Companies that are based outside of the EU, but targeting customers that are in the EU will be subject to the GDPR which is not the case now.

  • Consent

Consent of personal data must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Consent is not freely given if a person is unable to freely refuse consent without detriment.

  • Accountability and privacy by default

The GDPR has placed great emphasis on the accountability for data controllers to demonstrate data compliance. They will be required to maintain certain documentation, conduct impact assessment reports for riskier processing and employ data protection practices by default – such as data minimisation.

  • Notification of a data breach

Data controllers must notify the Data Protection Authorities as quickly as possible, where applicable within 72 hours of the data breach discovery.

  • Sanctions

This new legislation allows the Data protection Authorities to impose higher fines – up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover. The maximum fines can be applied for discrepancies related to international data transfers or breach of processing principles, such as conditions for consent. Other violations can be fined up to 2% of annual worldwide turnover.

  • Role of data processors

Data processors will now have direct obligations to implement technical and organisation measures to ensure data protection, this could include appointing a Data Protection Officer if needed.

  • One stop shop

This legislation will be applicable in all EU states without the need of implementing national legislation. Having a single set of rules will benefit businesses as they will not need to comply with multiple authorities, streamlining the process and saving an estimate of €2.3 billion a year.

  • Removal of notification requirement

Some data controllers will be glad to hear that the requirement of notifying or seeking approval from a Data Protection Authority is going to be removed in many circumstances. This decision is made to save funds and time. Instead of notification the new directive requires data controllers to put in place appropriate practices for large scale processing in the form of new technology.

  • Right to be forgotten

This change is one of the most useful changes for the average person managing their data protection risks. A person will be able to require their data to be deleted when there is no legitimate reason for an organisation to retain it. Following this is requested the organisation must also take appropriate steps to inform any third party that might have any links or copies of the data and request them to delete it.

This new directive has clearly been created acknowledging that people produce much more sensitive data than they have ever before. Managing data on a large scale can be risky for organisations if they do not plan out an appropriate strategy and update their systems to handle the influx. This kind of negligence can lead to data breaches or leaks.


 

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