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Blog  »  July 2017  »  GDPR – What is it and what does it mean for you? - Blog
Jul 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

GDPR – What is it and what does it mean for you?

The General Data Protection Regulation will come into force on the 25th of May 2018, after 4 years of intense preparation and debate it was finally approved to replace the existing Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.

The aim of the GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world that is vastly different from the time in which the 1995 directive was established.

The key points of the GDPR are:

  • Increased Territorial Scope
    Arguably the biggest change to the regulatory landscape of data privacy comes with the extended jurisdiction of the GDPR, as it applies to all companies processing the personal data of data subjects residing in the Union, regardless of the company’s location. 
  • Penalties
    Under GDPR organizations in breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater). This is the maximum fine that can be imposed for the most serious infringements.
  • Consent
    Requests for consent must be clear and distinguishable from other matters and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it. 
  • Breach Notification
    Where a breach occurs that is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals” that Data Controller must notify affected parties within 72 hours of first having become aware of the breach.
  • Right to Access
    Part of the expanded rights of data subjects outlined by the GDPR is the right for data subjects to obtain from the data controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose.
  • Right to be Forgotten
    Also known as Data Erasure, the right to be forgotten entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data. Conditions for data erasure do exist, including the data no longer being relevant. 
  • Data Portability
    GDPR introduces data portability - the right for a data subject to receive the personal data concerning them, which they have previously provided in a 'commonly use and machine-readable format' and have the right to transmit that data to another controller. 
  • Privacy by Design
    Privacy by design calls for the inclusion of data protection from the onset of the designing of systems, rather than an addition. Under GDPR data controllers are called on to hold and process only the data absolutely necessary for the completion of its duties, as well as limiting the access to personal data. 
  • Data Protection Officers 
    DPO appointment will be mandatory only for those controllers and processors whose core activities consist of processing operations which require regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale or of special categories of data or data relating to criminal convictions and offenses. Specific criteria in relation to the appointment of a DPO exist.

The GDPR places onerous obligations on organisations in relation to the processing of personal data. In order to be ready for the May deadline, it is strongly advisable to start preparing now. 

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