GDPR Compliance

  • Fabian Sinner
  • February 6, 2024

Table of content

    GDPR Compliance

    GDPR compliance refers to a set of regulations called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is used in the European Union (EU). The GDPR is a comprehensive data protection law that regulates the processing of personal data to ensures the protection of individuals’ privacy and rights in relation to their sensitive information.

    GDPR compliance means that an organization or company complies with the regulation’s provisions regarding the collection, processing, and storage of personal data.

    What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union regulation that aims to harmonize data protection laws in Europe and strengthen the privacy and protection of its citizens’ personal data. It came into force on 25 May 2018 and has far-reaching implications for companies and organizations that process the personal data of EU citizens.

    The regulation gives individuals more control over their personal data. This includes the right of access, the right to be forgotten, the right to data portability, and the right to object to data processing. Companies must ensure that their data processing systems are designed from the ground up with data protection in mind and that personal data is protected by default.

    Companies must be able to demonstrate that they comply with the principles of the GDPR, which is known as “accountability”. This can be done through various measures such as data protection impact assessments and data protection policies and procedures. In certain cases, organizations must appoint a data protection officer to oversee compliance with the GDPR.

    Organizations are required to report certain types of data breaches to supervisory authorities within 72 hours. Violations of the GDPR can lead to significant fines, which can amount to up to 4% of the company’s global annual turnover or up to 20 million euros, depending on the violation.

    Who does the GDPR apply to?

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to:

    1. Companies and organizations based in the European Union (EU): Regardless of their size, all companies and organizations based in the EU that process personal data must comply with the GDPR.
    2. Companies and organizations outside the EU that offer goods or services in the EU: This also applies to companies that are not based in the EU but offer goods or services to individuals in the EU. For example, a US company that sells goods or services to customers in the EU is covered by the GDPR.
    3. Companies and organizations that monitor the behavior of individuals in the EU: This refers to organizations that do not necessarily offer physical goods or services in the EU but collect or analyze data from EU citizens. For example, a company based in India that uses online tracking tools to monitor the behavior of users in the EU could fall under the GDPR.

    The GDPR aims to strengthen and standardize data protection for all individuals within the EU. It gives citizens more control over their personal data and lays down strict rules for data processing.

    This means that any organization that handles personal data of individuals from the EU must ensure that its processes comply with the requirements of the GDPR, regardless of where the company is based.

    What is important for being compliant?

    GDPR compliance covers various aspects that are relevant for companies and organizations to ensure that they meet the requirements of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

    Understanding and classifying personal data: Companies need to understand exactly what types of data they collect, how this data is used, where it is stored, and how long it is kept. This includes identifying special categories of personal data that are subject to stricter regulations.

    Obtaining consent: Consent to process personal data must be clear, informed, and voluntary. Companies must be able to prove that they have obtained valid consent to process the data.

    Data protection by design and default: This approach requires data protection to be incorporated into the development of new products, services or processes from the outset. Privacy-friendly default settings should also be implemented to ensure that only necessary data is collected.

    Privacy policy and transparency: Organizations must provide transparent, understandable, and easily accessible information about how they process personal data.

    Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA): For certain types of data processing that could pose a higher risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, organizations must conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment.

    Training and awareness: Employees should be regularly trained on data protection practices, GDPR requirements, and their role in protecting personal data.

    Data security: Appropriate technical and organizational measures should be implemented to protect personal data from unauthorized access, loss or destruction.

    Processing register: Companies must keep a record of all processing activities, which must contain certain information about data processing.

    Processing of personal data on behalf: If data processors are used, they must be carefully selected and contractual agreements must be made to ensure compliance with the GDPR.

    Cross-border data flows: When transferring personal data outside of the EU, organizations must ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place.

    Data breach notification: Organizations must be able to detect data breaches and report them to the relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours if necessary.

    Appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO): In certain cases, the appointment of a DPO is required to monitor compliance with the GDPR and serve as a point of contact for supervisory authorities.

    Rights of data subjects: Processes must be implemented to integrate the rights of data subjects, including the right of access, rectification, erasure, restriction of processing, data portability, and objection to processing.

    Regularly review and update data protection practices: GDPR compliance is an ongoing process. Organizations and companies must regularly review and update their data protection practices to ensure that they continue to comply with legal requirements.

    What does the GDPR affect?

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a significant impact on various aspects of data processing and the protection of personal data. Here are some examples:

    Privacy policy

    The GDPR requires companies and websites to provide clear and understandable privacy statements. These statements must contain information on how personal data is collected, processed and protected.

    Legal notice

    Legal notices are not directly affected by the GDPR, but are subject to national laws on the obligation to publish company information. However, the GDPR may impose requirements for the disclosure of data protection information in the legal notice.

    Social media

    Companies and websites that use social media must ensure that they comply with the GDPR guidelines when collecting or sharing personal data via social platforms. Users must be informed about the use of their data and asked for consent.

    Newsletter

    Sending newsletters requires the consent of recipients in accordance with the provisions of the GDPR. Companies must be transparent and offer clear opt-in options. Subscription and unsubscription procedures should also be simple.

    Contact form

    Contact forms on websites must comply with data protection requirements. This includes clear information about what data is collected, why it is collected, and how it is protected. Consent for data collection must be obtained.

    Cookies

    The GDPR requires website visitors to be informed about the use of cookies and to give their consent (opt-in) before cookies are placed on their devices. This applies to cookies that collect personal data.

    Employee data

    Companies must also comply with the data protection requirements of the GDPR when processing employee data. This includes information such as payslips, contact information, and other personal data. Employees must be informed about the processing of their data with the same clarity as in any other situation.

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