GDPR compliance

6 Top Things to Do in Preparation for the GDPR Implementation

May 25, 2018 – is the full implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR is a European Union (EU) law that sets out the obligations of organizations in order to protect the personal data of EU residents. The law also sets out harsh penalties in case of failure to comply.

Even if your organization isn’t based in any of the EU states, the implementation of the GPDR will still impact your organization as this law has extra-territorial scope.

This means that even if your organization is based, for instance, in Canada, this European law still applies if your organization processes personal data of EU residents. For example, if your organization offers goods or services (regardless of whether payment is made) or monitors the behavior of EU residents, your organization is covered under GDPR. And even if your organization is a small one, that is, it only employs fewer than 250 people, it’s still covered under GDPR.

The personal data referred to by the law refers to any information that can be used to identify a person either directly or indirectly, including name, email address, photo, medical information, bank details, posts on social networking websites and computer IP address.

Here are the 6 top things to do in order to prepare your organization for the upcoming implementation of GDPR:

1. Make Consent Process User-Friendly

In GDPR, your organization will no longer be allowed to use long and legalese terms and conditions to request for personal data consent.

Under the EU law, request for consent must be presented in layman’s terms and the purpose of the data processing must also be presented in clear and plain language. There must also be an easy way for customers to withdraw their consent. In the case of minors, parental consent must be given.

2. Delete Data that No Longer Serves Original Purpose

Under the GDPR, the right to erasure, also known as the right to be forgotten, is enshrined. Article 17 of the EU law provides that data should be deleted when the data no longer serves the original purpose of processing and when the data subject withdraws his or her consent. The law, however, provides that the right to be forgotten must be weighed against “the public interest in the availability of the data”.

3. Implement Data Protection as Precautionary Measure, Not as an Afterthought

The GDPR calls for “privacy by design” – a concept now made into law that requires organizations to make data protection as part of the preventive measure, instead as an afterthought or reactionary measures.

The law specifically requires organizations processing personal data to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures in order to protect personal data that it processes.

Organizations, under the law, are required to hold and process only the personal data that’s necessary for the completion of its functions. The law also requires organizations to limit the access to personal data only to those who are necessary for carrying out the data processing task.

4. Be Transparent to Affected Individuals

Part of the expanded rights of EU residents under the GDPR is the right to obtain confirmation from organizations as to whether or not their data is being processed, for what purpose and where. Organizations are also required under the law to provide free digital copy of the personal data being processed to the affected individuals.

5. Determine if Your Organization Needs to Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO) is mandatory under GDPR only if your organization engages in large-scale systematic monitoring or large-scale processing of sensitive personal data. If your organization doesn’t engage in any of these functions, then there’s no need to appoint a DPO.

6. Be Transparent About Data Breach

Under GDPR, there will be no more concealing of data breaches. Notification is mandatory under this law in case where the data breach is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. This law requires that data breach notification to the concerned agency must be done within 72 hours after first having become aware of the breach. Notification to affected customers, meanwhile, has to be done “without undue delay” after first becoming aware of a data breach.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Several factors are taken into consideration in calculating the fine under GDPR. These factors include:

  • Nature, gravity and duration of non-compliance, for example, the number of people affected and damage cost
  • Whether the non-compliance of the law was intentional or as a result of negligence
  • Whether the organization took steps in mitigating the damage
  • Technical and organizational preventive measures that had been implemented by the organization
  • Prior record of non-compliance
  • Types of personal data involved
  • How the non-compliance was discovered

The maximum fine that can be imposed for a breach of this law is 4% of the annual global turnover or €20 Million, whichever is higher. The maximum fine is imposed for the non-compliance of key provisions of GDPR such as violating the core of Privacy by Design concepts and failure to get sufficient customer consent to process data.

The penalty of 2% of the annual global turnover or €10 million, whichever is higher, meanwhile, can be imposed in case of non-compliance of technical measures such as failure to report data breach and failure to give affected individuals access to personal data being processed.

“Rapid technological developments and globalisation have brought new challenges for the protection of personal data,” the law states. “The scale of the collection and sharing of personal data has increased significantly. Technology allows both private companies and public authorities to make use of personal data on an unprecedented scale in order to pursue their activities. Natural persons increasingly make personal information available publicly and globally. Technology has transformed both the economy and social life, and should further facilitate the free flow of personal data within the Union and the transfer to third countries and international organisations, while ensuring a high level of the protection of personal data.”

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