Over the last few decades, protecting individuals’ personal data has been challenging across Europe and worldwide. Significant data breaches and data leakages have ended up costing businesses in the form of revenue and customer loss. Such events badly impact customers as their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) gets leaked. Data breaches and PII theft are profitable business models for scammers, and such illicit activities are not showing any signs of slowing down in the future. Thus, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is enacted to ensure data security and privacy.
What is GDPR?
The GDPR is a European Union (EU) legislation that governs how to use, process, and store an individual’s personal data. The law took effect on May 25, 2018, and it applies to businesses operating within the EU, offering services or goods to the European Union, or monitoring EU citizens. Corporations must fulfill GDPR requirements to avoid hefty fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The Key Elements of GDPR
Some of the significant aspects of GDPR laws include:
- Extended Jurisdiction: The General Data Protection Regulation has expanded its jurisdiction. It now applies to any business processing a customer’s personal information in the EU. This means that the data protection law is not limited to firms based in the EU; it also applies to small and large organizations located outside the EU but handling the data of its citizens.
- Consent: GDPR emphasizes getting clear and explicit consent from individuals before processing their confidential information. Firms must be transparent about collecting, processing, and using personal data and ensure that individuals have a choice in granting or withdrawing their consent.
- Right to Access: Under GDPR policy, data subjects enjoy the right to request access to their personal data, and the organizations are obligated to provide them with the information.
- Right to be Forgotten: GDPR provides data subjects the right to request their personal information erased under certain circumstances.
- Data Protection Officer (DPO): As per the GDPR regulation, all data processors, as well as data controllers, must have a DPO on their team. The DPO is accountable for ensuring adherence to data protection laws.
- Penalties: GDPR introduces more severe penalties for non-compliance with data protection regulations. The ICO and other regulatory bodies enjoy the power of imposing fines of more than €20 million or 4% of the business’s annual turnover globally for severe breaches.
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These provisions under the General Data Protection Regulation aim to strengthen individuals’ control over their personal data and hold organizations accountable for handling and protecting that data, ultimately providing better protection for data subjects’ fundamental rights.
Entities Subject to GDPR Regulations
The GDPR policy establishes a framework for collecting and managing a customer’s personal information within the EU. Personal data is any information linked to a living individual, either identifiable or identified. GDPR’s jurisdiction extends to any entity or person involved in processing personal data within the EU. The GDPR categorizes the countries handling personal information outside the European Union as ‘Third Countries.’ While these countries may have their own data protection laws, they must fulfill GDPR compliance requirements in specific situations: when providing goods or services to the EU and when processing data of EU citizens who reside within the EU.
Why is GDPR Compliance Important?
The General Data Protection Regulation is very important because it establishes a uniform set of regulations applicable to all EU organizations. This ensures a fair, competitive environment for businesses and facilitates swifter and more transparent data transfers among EU member states. Moreover, GDPR empowers European Union citizens by giving them the authority to use their confidential data. Before the introduction of GDPR, a mere 15% of individuals believed they had complete control over their online-provided information, as reported by the European Commission. This low level of trust within the general public is anticipated to influence consumer behavior. Therefore, efforts to rebuild this trust through introducing and effectively implementing GDPR are expected to enhance trade. It is crucial to implement data protection policies and give staff training on them, as non-compliance could lead to data breaches.
GDPR Compliance Checklist
Below is the 10-step GDPR checklist:
- Know all the data your company collects
- Appoint a DPO
- Create a General Data Protection Regulation diary
- Assess the data collection requirements
- Report data breaches to relevant parties instantly
- Be transparent about the objectives of data collection
- Confirm the ages of users who are giving consent for data processing activities
- Implement a two-factor authentication process for all new email list subscriptions
- Periodically evaluate the risks linked to third-party relationships