As an independent expert to the European Commission and Associate Partner at Northdoor, I’ve been speaking to a lot of clients and prospects about this upcoming change to data protection and privacy laws, and pretty much everyone has at least the same four questions.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is new European regulation designed to give citizens greater control over their personal data and to protect it from loss or misuse. It replaces the existing DPA regulation in the UK, and it applies to essentially any organisation that holds data on citizens of member states of the European Union. So, if you have customers, employees or partners who are EU citizens, you’ll be impacted.
As well as requiring companies to collect, store and use personal data securely, fairly, accurately and responsibly, GDPR legislation gives individuals new rights in eight key areas:
This is an easy one: 25th May 2018.
Not everything is clear yet: GDPR is a refreshingly short legal document – fewer than 100 pages – but that brevity leaves a number of points open to interpretation!
What is already clear is that all organisations need to revisit their processes for seeking, storing and managing consent from EU citizens for use of their personal data. (Note that “personal data” is defined in the GDPR as any information (e.g. an IP address) that could be used to identify a natural person). A key principle is that GDPR requires users to opt in to the use of their data (where the current DPA simply protects their right to opt out).
The other major change is that you’ll need to be prepared to respond rapidly (but no set turnaround time is specified) to requests from EU citizens to access, update, correct or delete their data.
For the time being, UK citizens remain EU citizens. Regardless of what ultimately happens in the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the UK government plans to adopt the same legislation for UK citizens. And even if the UK law ends up being different, any organisations dealing with EU citizens (regardless of the location of that activity) will still be required to comply with GDPR.