General Data Protection Regulation

  • 06 Feb 2018
  • By Philip Holdsworth

If your business is based in the European Union (EU) or you have customers or contacts in the EU, then you have probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by now. For those who haven’t, the GDPR is an EU privacy law that will take effect on May 25, 2018. It will regulate the treatment and use of personal data belonging to EU citizens.

EU-based businesses, as well as anyone processing the personal data of EU citizens, will likely be affected by the GDPR. If you ever collect, record, store, use, or erase personal data from customers or contacts in the EU, the GDPR should be on your radar. This new law will have a significant impact on businesses around the world.

Basically, you will need to know what personal data you keep, where you keep it, who you share it with and how you will use this knowledge to comply with these new regulations.
You will also need to have a lawful basis for collecting and storing this data and this may involve a strict process of obtaining consent. The Information Commissioners’ Office have identified a twelve-point check list that you should have worked through before 25 May 2018:

  1. Awareness: You should make sure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have.
  2. Information you hold: You should document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. You may need to organise an information audit.
  3. Individuals’ rights: You should check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.
  4. Communicating privacy information: You should review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.
  5. Lawful basis for processing personal data: You should identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.
  6. Subject access requests: You should update your procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales and provide any additional information.
  7. Consent: You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard.
  8. Data breaches: You should make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.
  9. Children: You should start thinking now about whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.
  10. Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments: You should familiarise yourself now with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments as well as the latest guidance from the Article 29 Working Party, and work out how and when to implement them in your organisation.
  11. Data Protection Officers: You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer.
  12. International: If your organisation operates in more than one EU member state (i.e. you carry out cross-border processing), you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority. Article 29 Working Party guidelines will help you do this.

For more information visit https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/

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