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The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

What is the GDPR?

The EU's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) superseded the Irish Data Protection Act 1988 on 25 May 2018. Significant and wide-reaching in scope, the new law brings a 21st-century approach to data protection. It expands the rights of individuals to control how their personal data is collected and processed, and places a range of new obligations on organisations to be more accountable for data protection.

The GDPR also gives member states limited opportunities to make provisions or derogations for how the Regulation applies in their country; Ireland has done so via its Data Protection Act 2018.


GDPR – an ongoing compliance journey

25 May 2018 was just the beginning – the GDPR requires clear evidence of an organisation’s ongoing commitment and compliance efforts. Where GDPR-compliant you must ensure that you maintain your data processing practices to adequately address any emerging privacy and security risks.

If you have not yet started your GDPR journey, you should prioritise tackling those areas where a lack of action leaves your organisation exposed. Where an infringement occurs, demonstrating you have made a start could help reduce potential penalties.

Find out more about the key steps to GDPR compliance >>

No matter what stage of your compliance journey you are at, IT Governance can help. Speak to one of our experts today to find out how your organisation can become GDPR compliant.

Speak to an expert

The Business benefits of the GDPR

Watch our short video where Alan Calder, IT Governance Founder and Executive Chairman, answers the important questions surrounding the EU GDPR and how it affects businesses in the EU.

While the GDPR maybe complex and challenging there are business benefits to be gained from compliance:

  • Build customer trust
  • Improve brand image and reputation
  • Improve data governance
  • Improve information security
  • Improve competitive advantage

Who does the GDPR apply to?

  • All EU organisations that collect, store or otherwise process the personal data of individuals residing in the EU, even if they’re not EU citizens.
  • Organisations based outside the EU that offer goods or services to EU residents, monitor their behaviour, or process their personal data.
Find out how your organisation can start its journey to becoming GDPR-compliant today >>

The principle requirements

Click to expand some key changed introduced by the Regulation:

  • Establishing a governance structure with roles and responsibilities.
  • Keeping a detailed record of all data processing operations.
  • Documenting data protection policies and procedures.
  • Carrying out DPIAs (data protection impact assessments) for high-risk processing operations. Find out more about DPIAs >>
  • Implementing appropriate measures to secure personal data.
  • Conducting staff awareness training.
  • Where necessary, appoint a data protection officer.

Read our GDPR compliance checklist >>

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and transparently.
  • Collected only for specific legitimate purposes.
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary.
  • Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  • Stored only as long as is necessary.
  • Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security.

  • If the data subject has given their consent.
  • To meet contractual obligations.
  • To comply with legal obligations.
  • To protect the data subject’s vital interests.
  • For tasks in the public interest.
  • For the legitimate interests of the organisation.

  • Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.
  • A request for consent must be intelligible and in clear, plain language.
  • Silence, pre-ticked boxes and inactivity will no longer suffice as consent.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent for online services from a child under 13 is only valid with parental authorisation.
  • Organisations must be able to evidence consent.

  • Appropriate safeguards should be integrated into the processing.
  • Data protection must be considered at the design stage of any new process, system or technology.
  • A DPIA (data protection impact assessment) is an integral part of privacy by design

  • When personal data is collected directly from data subjects, data controllers must provide a privacy notice at the time of collection.
  • When personal data is not obtained direct from data subjects, data controllers must provide a privacy notice without undue delay, and within a month. This must be done the first time they communicate with the data subject.
  • For all processing activities, data controllers must decide how the data subjects will be informed and design privacy notices accordingly. Notices can be issued in stages.
  • Privacy notices must be provided to data subjects in a concise, transparent and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language.

  • Where the EU has designated a country as providing an adequate level of data protection;
  • Through model contracts or binding corporate rules; or
  • By complying with an approved certification mechanism, e.g. EU-US Privacy Shield.

  • Data processors are required to report all breaches of personal data to data controllers.
  • Data controllers are required to report breaches to the Data Protection Commission (DPC) within 72 hours of their discovery if there is a risk to data subjects’ rights and freedoms.
  • Data subjects themselves must be notified without undue delay if there is a high risk to their rights and freedoms.

  • Public authorities;
  • Organisations involved in high-risk processing; and
  • Organisations processing special categories of data.

A DPO has set tasks:

  • Inform and advise the organisation of its obligations.
  • Monitor compliance, including awareness raising, staff training and audits.
  • Cooperate with data protection authorities and act as a contact point.

Find out more about the key changes introduced by the GDPR and how you can comply by downloading our free green paper >>


What is personal data? 

Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subject). The Regulation places much stronger controls on the processing of special categories of personal data than the Irish Data Protection Act. The inclusion of genetic and biometric data is new.

Personal data

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Photo
  • IP address
  • Location data
  • Online behaviour (cookies)
  • Profiling and analytics data

Special categories of personal data

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Political opinions
  • Trade union membership
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health information
  • Biometric data
  • Genetic data

How will Brexit affect the GDPR?

Regardless of Brexit, EU organisations with offices based in the UK that process EU residents’ personal data need to comply with the GDPR. Post-Brexit, any cross-border data flows between the EU and the UK may no longer automatically carry adequate safeguards. Accordingly, the UK government is seeking an ‘adequacy decision’ from the EU to continue to easily share personal data. Failing that, other options include seeking a bilateral agreement similar to the EU-US Privacy Shield, or for organisations to implement standard contract clauses or binding corporate rules that would add complexity and cost to data transfers. Irish organisations with a UK presence should take Brexit implications into account in their GDPR planning.

Find out how your organisation can start its journey to becoming GDPR-compliant today >>

How IT Governance can help you get GDPR-ready

IT Governance, a leading global provider of IT governance, risk management and compliance solutions, is at the forefront of helping organisations globally address the challenges of GDPR compliance.

Browse our range of free resources and comprehensive solutions to help you meet your GDPR compliance objectives.

Download our free GDPR resources

 

Shop our range of GDPR products and services


Speak to a GDPR expert

If you’re looking for help with your GDPR project, get in touch with our experts who can advise you on which of our products and services are best suited to your needs.