Simply put, if you run an organization that even remotely deals with European citizens you must respect the GDPR. This is a stringent regulation that focuses purely on the general data protection principles relevant to the data of European citizens. The laws surrounding this have become extremely harsh, and are now standardized internationally. However, it has only been a few years since the GDPR took hold. The GDPR can strike fear into the hearts of most organizations, large or small. This is simply because overlooking the criteria of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) can result in absolutely insane penalties and fines. It is probably the most feared data protection regulation law in the world at the moment. To give an example of just how insane it is, most organizations will employ a specialized GDPR officer to check their business practice for them!
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the world’s toughest privacy and security law, no doubt about it. Although drafted and approved by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations on organizations everywhere as long as they target or collect data relating to individuals in the EU, as we said earlier. This regulation came into force on May 25, 2018. That is only about four years in the past from now. The GDPR can carry harsh fines of tens of millions of dollars for violating privacy and security standards.
With the GDPR, Europe takes a clear stance on data protection and security at a time when more and more people entrust their personal data to cloud services and breaches are becoming a daily occurrence. The regulation itself is dense and extremely comprehensive, but relatively lacking in detail, making GDPR compliance a difficult prospect to digest for most, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Going back in history for a little more perspective, it is important to note that the right to privacy is part of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, which states that “everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, home and correspondence”. to protect this right.
As technology advanced and the Internet was invented, the EU recognized the need for modern safeguards. That is why in 1995 we passed the European Data Protection Directive. This Directive sets minimum standards for data protection and security and is based on each Member State’s own implementing legislation. But the Internet had already transformed into the data hoover it is today. In 1994, the first advertising banners appeared online. In 2000, most financial institutions offered online banking. In 2006, Facebook was launched to the public. In 2011, a Google user sued the company for scanning his email. Two months after her, the European data protection authority began work to update its 1995 directive, saying the EU needed a “comprehensive approach to protecting personal data”.
Staying compliant with the daunting GDPR process is a big fight for most organizations, institutions, and even governments. Nobody wants to end up in court because an EU citizen’s personal data (as small a detail as the storage of a simple email address) was mishandled.
The GDPR defines many legal terms in detail;
Personal Information – Personal Information is any information about an identifiable individual, either directly or indirectly. Names and email addresses are of course personal information. Location information, ethnicity, gender, biometric data, religious beliefs, web cookies, and political opinions may also be personal data. Pseudonymous data may also fall under the definition if it is relatively easy to identify an individual from the pseudonymous data.
Data Processing – All actions performed on data, whether automatic or manual. Examples given in the text include collecting, capturing, organizing, structuring, storing, using, deleting… basically everything.
Data Subject — the individual whose data are being processed. These are your customers or website visitors.
Data Controller — The person who determines why and how personal data is processed.
Data Processor – A third party that processes Personal Data on behalf of the Data Controller. GDPR has special rules for these people and organizations. This could include cloud servers such as Tresorit and email service providers such as Proton Mail.
To best comply with the GDPR, it is simply the easiest solution to find a GDPR officer to do the work for you. Otherwise, here are some things you must pay attention to;
- Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency – Processing must be lawful, fair, and transparent to the data subject.
- Purpose Restriction – Data must be processed for legitimate purposes explicitly indicating the data subject at the time of collection.
- Data Minimization – Only the amount of data strictly necessary for the specified purpose should be collected and processed.
- Accuracy – Personal information must be kept accurate and up to date.
- Storage Restrictions – Personal data may be stored only for as long as necessary for the stated purpose.
- Integrity and Confidentiality – Processing must be performed in a manner that ensures adequate security, integrity, and confidentiality (for example, using cryptography).
- Accountability – Data controllers have a responsibility to be able to demonstrate GDPR compliance with all of these principles.
As you can see, the GDPR is extremely complex but also, most importantly, it is the law after all. Like we said earlier, to avoid any mishaps with the GDPR, you should look at taking up the services of a DPO (Data Protection Officer).
Contrary to popular belief, not all data controllers or processors are required to appoint a data protection officer (DPO).There are three conditions under which one must appoint a data protection officer. Your core task is to systematically and regularly monitor people on a large scale. (Example: You are Google.) Your main activity is the processing of special categories of data referred to in Article 9 of the GDPR or large amounts of data relating to convictions and crimes referred to in Article 10 of the GDPR. It’s a large-scale process. (Example: You are a clinic.) You may appoint a data protection officer, but you are under no obligation to do so.There are perks to having someone in that role. Their basic responsibilities include understanding the GDPR and how it applies to the organization, advising people within the organization on their responsibilities, conducting data protection training, and conducting audits, This includes monitoring compliance with and working with regulatory authorities.