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The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

What is the GDPR?

The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) superseded the Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens, the previous Dutch personal data protection act, on 25 May 2018. The GDPR 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 Dutch law via an implementation bill, the Uitvoeringswet Algemene verordening gegevensbescherming (UAVG).


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 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.


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. 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

The benefits of the GDPR

There are great advantages to EU GDPR compliance. The new law promotes greater transparency and accountability and aims to increase public trust by giving individuals more control over their data. By getting data protection right, organisations will enhance their reputation, and build better, trusted relationships with existing and potential customers.

The business benefits of the EU GDPR include:

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

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


The key elements of the GDPR

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • Privacy notices must be provided 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 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.

  • 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 comply with the EU GDPR

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 EU GDPR compliance.

Browse our wide range of products that can help you meet your EU 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