What is the GDPR?
We manage so many of our daily activities online that the web has inevitably turned into a giant pool of personal data, which is exposed to a variety of risks, as was the recent case with Facebook.
Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went live on May 25th, is aimed at addressing all security risks by enforcing a strict data protection regulation across the EU and beyond.
Learn more about the main principles of the GDPR, how it is meant to protect data privacy and how it will affect our relationship with you and your customers.
What is the GDPR all about?
The GDPR regulation is the most impactful piece of data privacy legislation in the new century.
Coming on the heels of the recent Facebook scandal, which revealed that the data of millions of Facebook users had been misused for the sake of third-party campaigns, the GDPR regulation is designed to regain order in how personal data is handled and stored online.
Despite being an EU regulation, the GDPR practically affects any company that processes the personal information of EU citizens.
That said, it applies to whether or not that company is based in the EU.
For instance, if a US-based company provides goods or services to EU citizens, it automatically falls within the scope of the regulation.
Personal data and individual rights
Approved on April 14, 2016, the new set of rules treats personal data protection as “a fundamental right” of all EU citizens and consumers.
Regarding online services, personal data could include anything from an individual’s name to a physical location or an IP address.
The law also covers browser cookies that can track the web activity of EU individuals.
In an effort to give consumers a bit of power in the so-called “big data” world, the new regulation also gives EU individuals more rights to their information.
All EU individuals will have the explicit right to know whether, where and for what purpose their personal data is being processed.
The GDPR empowers EU individuals to have their personal data erased or not processed further.
They can also object to having their data processed for direct marketing purposes and choose to transfer it away to another provider.
Data protection responsibilities under the GDPR
The GDPR sets out the rights of EU individuals and the respective obligations of data processing companies and organizations in a total of 99 articles.
The main business takeaway is that each company will have to justify the collection of personal data and to follow very strict rules in the process.
The regulation makes a clear differentiation between companies that direct the collection of data (data controllers) and those that actually process it (data processors).
Both controllers and processors will be delegated data protection responsibilities that will make them equally pursuant to GDPR compliance audits.
The GDPR requires companies to revise and update their privacy policies and to make them clearer and more transparent to EU users.
They will need to clearly specify what personal information is collected, for what purposes it is used and what legal basis each purpose is backed up by.
Apart from justifying their data processing activities, however, companies will also need to take specific technical and organizational measures to ensure the highest level of in-house data protection.