Introduction to GDPR
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a legitimate framework that lays down the guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from the individuals of the EU (European Union). The G D P R guidelines of April 2016 are imposed upon every website or organization irrespective of the websites’ headquarters. It is therefore inexpugnable for all organizations that receive European visitors to be GDPR compliant even if the goods and services of the organizations are not specifically meant for the Europeans.
The data protection regulation, GDPR, came into force in May 2018 after being formulated in April 2016, and since then it has made it obligatory for the websites to furnish the EU citizens with detailed data disclosure documents. The organizations also need to adopt specific measures for sending personal notifications to the clients whose confidentiality has been infringed by data breaches in the system.
The seven guidelines of GDPR
GDPR adheres to a set of seven guiding principles for the implementation of the framework for data protection. The seven principles of GDPR are elucidated below:
1. Lawfulness, transparency, and fairness
The processing of user information must be executed in complete fairness, transparency, and lawfulness by the organization that is subject to the GDPR. The execution of data processing must not be fraudulent or suspicious in the eyes of law. It is incumbent upon the organization to hold an open and frank discussion of the procedure of processing of the information with the EU clients as it is illegal otherwise.
2. Purpose limitation
According to this GDPR guideline, it is binding on business organizations and websites to secure only as much information as required for the purpose of business from the EU citizens. It is illegal for a company or website to ask for more information than necessary for business requirements. It is questionable under the law for a service to seek irrelevant information from the consumers. However, there are a few exceptions to this guideline. Business organizations and websites that seek supplementary information for archiving records in the public interest, historical or scientific research, and statistical purposes.
3. Data minimization
The GDPR principle of data minimization ensures that the data collected by the business website or organization is sufficient solely for the service being provided to the client by the commercial organization. This guideline serves to safeguard the EU citizens from complete and risky disclosure of confidential information. The data collected by the business establishment has to be completely relevant and absolutely essential for the service.
Under the GDPR guidelines, the personal data that is collected from the clients of the member states of the EU has to be accurate, up to date, and precisely for business purposes. This guideline requires the organization to review the user information regularly and modify or delete unnecessary and inaccurate user data accordingly.
The EU consumers are also vested with the right to place requests for the rectification or deletion of inaccurate data within 30 days. The streamlining of user data helps in enhancing the degree of GDPR compliance and also makes sure that the databases of the business are up to date and accurate.
5. Storage limitation
This GDPR guideline demands that if there is any trace of user data that is absolutely not essential for business purposes, then that data should be destroyed or deleted from the company’s data storage system. However, the GDPR guidelines do not mention explicitly the duration of storing unnecessary user information. It is the discretion of the organization or website to determine the duration on the basis of business requirements.
To maintain strict GDPR compliance the business organization must have a review process for analyzing and cleansing the commercial databases at the right time. Overall, the general implication of this principle is that the business firm cannot retain personal information for usage in the future. The exceptions of research, statistics, and public interest apply to this guideline as well.
6. Confidentiality and integrity
This principle is exclusively for the security of user data and information that is provided to the company’s website or business organization. The business firm takes the most stringent measures for the maintenance of the safety and security of the clients of the member states of the EU. This GDPR guideline ensures protection against internal threats and attacks like unauthorized access, hacking, accidental damage and loss of data, and so on. The guideline is also for securing confidential user data against theft, phishing, and malware.
A low level of information security can jeopardize the organization’s systems and services. GDPR guidelines state that every organization must have an appropriate level of security for addressing and protecting the system against the security risks of data processing.
The seventh principle of GDPR states that the business website or organization has to take complete responsibility for storing and safeguarding the data that is submitted by the different clients of the EU. The organization has to maintain strict adherence with the seven principles and also furnish the evidence of adherence in case any demonstration of GDPR compliance is necessary. These steps are listed below:
- Evaluation of the current business practices.
- Appointment of a data protection officer DPO.
- Creation and review of an inventory of personal information.
- Securing appropriate free consent from the client.
- The regular execution of data protection impact assessment practices.
The legislative rules of GDPR
The rules of compliance with GDPR are enshrined in the 91 articles of General Data Protection Regulation, 2018. These rules of GDPR are elucidated below:
1. Art. 17 and 18
Articles 17 and 18 provide the data subjects with more control over private user data that is executed automatically. The outcome is that the data subjects may engage in the transfer of personal data from one service provider to another most conveniently. This right is the right to portability. The data subjects may also direct the controller to delete the private data under specific circumstances under the Right to Erasure.
2. Art. 23 and 30
Articles 23 and 30 make it mandatory for the companies to implement strict data protection measures for maintaining the confidentiality of client data, and fighting against exposure and data loss, exposure, and breaches.
3. Art. 31 and 32
Almost the entire text of GDPR revolves around appropriate and timely notification of data breach and infringement. Article 31 mentions the requisites for a single data breach. It states that the controller has to notify the Supervising Authorities with specific details of the breach of personal data within 72 hours of becoming alert of the breach. Article 32 makes it a requisite for the data controllers to send notifications of data breaches to the data subjects as quickly as possible.
4. Art. 33 and 33a
According to Articles 33 and 33a, it is compulsory for the firm or business website to execute a Data Protection Impact Assessment for the identification of risks to client data. It is also compulsory, under these Articles, to conduct Data Protection Compliance Reviews, to address the risks for appropriate mitigation.
5. Art. 35
According to Article 35 of the GDPR, it is mandatory for particular business organizations to give appointments to data protection officers. To be more specific, a business organization that processes information concerning health, genetic data, ethnic or racial origin, religion, etc, must have a designated data protection officer. The officer advises the company about adherence to the regulation, and also serves as the person of contact for the Supervising Authorities. Quite a few companies come under the purview of Article 35 of the GDPR because these companies gather private information about the employees to comply with the procedures of the HR department.
6. Art. 36 and 37
Articles 36 and 37 embody the designation and responsibilities of the data protection officer DPO of the business institution. These Articles ensure compliance with the GDPR guidelines and ensure regular reporting to the data subjects and Supervisory Authorities.
7. Art. 45
Article 45 of the GDPR makes international business organizations comply with data protection requirements for securing information from individuals of the EU. These overseas companies will be subject to the GDPR penalties as well.
8. Art. 79
Article 79 of the GDPR lays down the punishments for non-compliance with the rules and guidelines of the GDPR. The damages to be met by the penalized firm can be up to 4% of the annual global revenue on the basis of the nature of infringement committed by it.
The objective of GDPR
The primary purpose of the GDPR (General Data Protection Guidelines) is to protect and preserve the fundamental freedoms and rights of individuals, specifically, the right to data privacy and protection of personal data. Fundamentally speaking, the GDPR rules and regulations derive from the rights and freedoms enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Another purpose of the GDPR is the creation of a harmonized and uniform level for maintaining the privacy of personal data within the European Union so that there can be free movement of personal data within the European Parliament. The other purposes of the GDPR include modernization of the rules of the Data Protection Directive, and so forth.
GDPR addresses and seeks to maintain the confidentiality of the following types of data, as mentioned below:
- Personally identifiable data includes name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number of an individual.
- Web-based information that includes the location, cookies, IP address, and RFID tag of a user.
- Genetic and health (HIPAA) data
- Ethnic and/or racial data
- Biometric data
- Sexual orientation
- Political opinion
Tips to comply efficiently with the GDPR guidelines
Business organizations and individuals have had an ample amount of time for figuring out different ways and devising plans and methods for compliance with the GDPR guidelines. But there are still a few companies that are still struggling to maintain strict adherence to the regulations. However, business experts have laid down a few easy guidelines to help companies and individuals comply with the GDPR rules and data protection regulations. These easy methods and guidelines are enlisted below:
1. Develop a data infringement incident response strategy
The most efficient way of tackling the compliance issue is to have a plan of action ready for prompt and streamlined response to data breaches in the company. Even though most of the companies have a few strategies up their sleeves, yet they fail to implement them because of the usually outdated nature of the plans. Therefore, it is imperative to work on the response methodology by reviewing, amending, and updating it regularly. A robust data breach incident response policy will certainly help in ensuring strict and complete compliance with the requirements of the GDPR.
Under the GDPR, it is also necessary for every business organization to notify the ICO regarding data infringement in which the client may suffer due to confidentiality breach or identity theft. Therefore, the organization needs to set up processes for the detection, report, and investigation of data breaches.
2. Appoint a competent and experienced data protection officer for systematic supervision of compliance with the GDPR
It is crucial for a business institution to appoint a data protection officer who will ensure strict adherence to the GDPR guidelines without any conflict of interest. If the business organization has 250 workers or more, or is involved in the systematic and periodic supervision of data subjects on a massive scale, or is a public authority, then it is absolutely imperative for the organization to appoint a data protection officer. The officer must possess
3. Spread awareness about the GDPR compliance across the business organization
Planning the modes of the GDPR compliance takes time as an organization has to address a variety of business aspects like the business budget, governance, business personnel, IT, communication, and more for the seamless compliance with the GDPR rules and regulations. The decision-makers of the establishment need to be completely aware of the rules and new legislation to assess the potential impact and focus on the areas that demand attention for strict compliance. A good way to begin is to consult the register of risks of the business establishment.
4. Audit the private data of the clients
Maintain documentation of the client data that the firm holds, along with the source of that data, and its level of access. The GDPR updates the rights for the networked company and enables the organization to be more accountable while demonstrating compliance with the principles of data protection.
For example, if the audit reveals that inaccurate personal data has been shared with another organization, then it is the responsibility of the firm that has shared inaccurate data to notify the other organization about the inaccuracy of the information and then correct the data records.
5. Keep the privacy notice of the business establishment up to date
While collecting personal data from the clients, the firm or business website generally uses a privacy notice. This notice embodies the information of DPA compliance that reveals the credentials of the company and the methodology of using the information. Under the new GDPR rules and regulations, the company has to update the privacy notice to provide additional information along with the DPA-compliant info. Some of the points to be explained in the privacy notice are mentioned below:
- The legal reason for processing the client data
- The period of data retention by the firm
- The rights of placing a complaint to the ICO in case there is an issue with handling the customer data
Review the current privacy notice to implement the plan of action for complying GDPR guidelines.
6. Review the procedures of providing support to the rights of individuals
The current legislation of the data protection regulation GDPR encompasses the principles of the Data Protection Act and adds a significant number of improvements too. One of the most imperative things to do is to review and analyze the organizational procedures for strict compliance with the GDPR. The primary rights of the clients under the data protection regulation GDPR are given below. These rights should be included in the company procedures without delay.
- Permission for subject access
- Rectification of inaccuracies
- Modification and deletion of data
- Prevention of direct marketing of data
- Prevention of automatic profiling and decision-making based on client data
- Permission for data portability
7. Review the procedures that support requests for subject access
Requests for subject access can be a major logistical or administrative issue depending upon the size and type of the business organization. An effective way of dealing with the issue is to conduct a cost/benefit analysis to provide online access to the clients. Besides, the company also needs to prepare the grounds and policies for refusal of subject access to the clients.
8. Identification and documentation of the legal grounds for processing personal data of clients
The rights of a few individuals get modified on the basis of legal grounds for the processing of personal data. It is therefore crucial to understand the different methods of data processing. Identify the legal basis of execution of data processing, and document it accordingly.
9. Review the different procedures of seeking, securing, and recording the consent of clients
If the company relies on the consent of individuals for processing personal data, then it has to meet the industry standards of being compliant with GDPR regulations. If the procedure of taking consent is not appropriate, then the company has to work on the alteration of the consent mechanism in such a way that the data controllers can provide ample proof of the consent. It is therefore essential to review the system of obtaining consent and maintain an effective audit trail for strictly complying to GDPR regulations.
10. Set up a special review procedure for the data obtained from minors/children
The GDPR guidelines lay down a set of special regulations for maintaining the confidentiality of the personal data obtained from children. If the company secures personal data from kids under thirteen, then it is mandatory for the company to obtain legal consent from the parents or guardian of the child.
11. Review the processes of Data Privacy Impact Assessment
It might be necessary to conduct a privacy impact assessment in risky situations like deployment of new technologies for testing out the procedures of Data Privacy Impact Assessment. The ICO recommends that the decision-makers of the company must understand the PIA Code of Practice to devise the most effective ways of implementation of DPIAs in the organization.
A few FAQs about GDPR
- What is GDPR in simple terms?
The GDPR is a regulatory law in the EU that governs the privacy and protection of personal data of the citizens of the EU. It lays down the guidelines for the collection and execution of private data of the EU individuals.
- What are the 7 principles of GDPR?
The seven principles of GDPR include transparency, accountability, integrity, storage limitation, accuracy, data minimization, and purpose limitation.
- What are the rules of GDPR?
The essential rules of GDPR maintenance of strict confidentiality of personal data and governance of personal data transfer within and beyond the EU.
- What is the purpose of GDPR?
The purpose of GDPR is to ensure the complete confidentiality of personal data that the citizens of the EU share with business organizations and websites.
The GDPR is now one of the widest pieces of EU legislation. It covers strict protection of personal data and bears heavy penalties for companies that fail to adhere to the regulations. Compliance with the rules and regulations of the GDPR has a positive impact on the competitiveness of the business establishment and also helps in improving the quality of service. However, the GDPR should not be viewed as a stipulatory regulation. Instead, it should be treated as an opportunity of garnering competitive advantage over industry rivals by establishing a solid foundation of trust and loyalty. The GDPR legislation is a significant step towards the modernization of the personal data market.
GDPR compliance is not only for brick and mortar business firms but also for online companies. Adherence to the GDPR guidelines is also obligatory for web and software development firms that operate online and obtain personal data from clients. From a legal and commercial perspective, it is safe to conclude that GDPR is a blessing for companies.