GDPR: Everything you need to know to stay compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive privacy regulation that was implemented by the European Union (EU) in May 2018. The GDPR has changed the way companies handle personal data of individuals within the EU and has set new standards for data protection worldwide. In this blog post, we will explore the background and key provisions of the GDPR.

Background

The GDPR replaces the EU Data Protection Directive from 1995, which was outdated and failed to account for the rapid technological developments in the past two decades. The GDPR aims to provide EU citizens with greater control over their personal data and strengthen their privacy rights. It also seeks to harmonize data protection regulations across the EU and make it easier for businesses to comply with the law.

Key Provisions

The GDPR introduces several new rights for EU citizens and imposes new obligations on companies that collect, process or store personal data. Here are some of the key provisions of the GDPR:

  1. Expanded Scope: The GDPR applies to all companies that process personal data of individuals within the EU, regardless of whether the company is based in the EU or not. This means that companies from outside the EU that target EU citizens with their products or services must comply with the GDPR.
  2. Consent: Companies must obtain explicit and freely given consent from individuals before collecting or processing their personal data. The GDPR also requires companies to clearly inform individuals about the purpose and duration of the data processing, as well as their rights to access and erase their data.
  3. Right to Erasure: Individuals have the right to request the deletion of their personal data, and companies must comply with such requests, subject to some exceptions.
  4. Data Breach Notification: Companies must notify individuals and supervisory authorities within 72 hours of discovering a data breach that poses a risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms.
  5. Data Protection Officer: Some companies are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who is responsible for ensuring GDPR compliance and advising the company on data protection matters.
  6. Fines: Companies that violate the GDPR can face fines of up to 4% of their global annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is higher.

Impact

The GDPR has had a significant impact on businesses worldwide, especially those that operate in the EU or target EU citizens. Companies have had to invest in new data protection technologies and processes, and many have had to update their privacy policies to comply with the GDPR. Some companies have also had to appoint a DPO or establish new departments dedicated to data protection.

On the other hand, the GDPR has strengthened the privacy rights of EU citizens and has given them greater control over their personal data. The GDPR has also encouraged companies to be more transparent about their data processing practices and to prioritize data protection in their business operations.

Conclusion

The GDPR is a landmark regulation that has set new standards for data protection worldwide. It has introduced new rights for EU citizens and new obligations for companies that process personal data. While the GDPR has caused some disruption and uncertainty in the business world, it has ultimately strengthened privacy rights and encouraged companies to prioritize data protection.