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The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

What is the GDPR?

The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) superseded the Privacywet, the previous Belgian data privacy act, on 25 May 2018.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 information is collected and processed, and places a range of 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 it applies in their country. The Regulation was transposed into Belgian law via an implementation bill, the Wet betreffende de bescherming van natuurlijke personen met betrekking tot de verwerking van persoonsgegevens, 30 Juli 2018.


GDPR – an ongoing compliance journey

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

Personal data

The GDPR applies to personal data as any information, in any format, that can directly or indirectly identify a natural person.

The Regulation places much stronger controls on the processing of special categories of personal data. 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

Which organisations does the GDPR apply to?

The GDPR applies to all EU organisations – whether commercial business, charity or public authority – that collect, store or process EU residents’ personal data, irrespective of nationality. Organisations based outside the EU that offer goods or services to EU residents, monitor their behaviour or process their personal data are also subject to the GDPR.

Service providers (data processors) that process data on behalf of an organisation (data controller) come under the remit of the GDPR and will have specific compliance obligations. An example might be an organisation that processes your payroll or a Cloud provider that offers data storage.


The key elements of the GDPR

Data processing principles

Personal data must be processed according to the six data protection principles:

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and transparently.
  • Collected only for specific legitimate purposes.
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary.
  • Must be accurate and kept up to date.
  • Stored only as long as is necessary.
  • Ensure appropriate security, integrity and confidentiality.

 

Accountability and governance

You must be able to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR:

  • The establishment of a governance structure with roles and responsibilities.
  • Keeping a detailed record of all data processing operations.
  • The documentation of data protection policies and procedures.
  • DPIAs (data protection impact assessments) for high-risk processing operations. Learn more >>
  • Implementing appropriate measures to secure personal data.
  • Staff training and awareness.
  • Where necessary, appoint a data protection officer.

 

Data protection by design and by default

There is a requirement to build effective data protection practices and safeguards from the very beginning of all processing:

  • Data protection must be considered at the design stage of any new process, system or technology.
  • A DPIA is an integral part of privacy by design.
  • The default collection mode must be to gather only the personal data that is necessary for a specific purpose.

 

Lawful processing

You must identify and document the lawful basis for any processing of personal data. The lawful bases are:

  • Direct consent from the individual;
  • The necessity to perform a contract;
  • Protecting the vital interests of the individual;
  • The legal obligations of the organisation;
  • Necessity for the public interest; and
  • The legitimate interests of the organisation.

 

Valid consent

There are stricter rules for obtaining consent:

  • 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.

 

Privacy rights of individuals

Individuals’ rights are enhanced and extended in a number of important areas:

  • The right of access to personal data through subject access requests.
  • The right to correct inaccurate personal data.
  • The right in certain cases to have personal data erased.
  • The right to object.
  • The right to move personal data from one service provider to another (data portability).

 

Transparency and privacy notices

Organisations must be clear and transparent about how personal data is going to be processed, by whom and why.

  • Privacy notices must be provided in a concise, transparent and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language.

 

Data transfers outside the EU

The transfer of personal data outside the EU is only allowed:

  • 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 security and breach reporting

Personal data needs to be secured against unauthorised processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.

  • Data breaches must be reported to the data protection authority within 72 hours of discovery.
  • Individuals impacted should be told where there exists a high risk to their rights and freedoms, e.g. identity theft, personal safety.

 

DPO (data protection officer)

The appointment of a DPO is mandatory for:

  • 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.

GDPR enforcement and penalties

The GDPR has attracted media and business interest because of the increased administrative fines for non-compliance.

The administrative fines are discretionary rather than mandatory; they must be imposed on a case-by-case basis and must be ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’.

There are two tiers of administrative fines that can be levied:

  1. Up to €10 million, or 2% annual global turnover – whichever is higher.
  2. Up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher.

The fines are based on the specific articles of the Regulation that the organisation has breached.


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 comprehensive solutions, services and products to help you meet your GDPR compliance objectives.

 

Free GDPR resources


Speak to a GDPR expert

Please contact our GDPR team for advice and guidance on our products and services