The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of rules about how companies should process the personal data of data subjects. GDPR lays out responsibilities for organisations to ensure the privacy and protection of personal data, provides data subjects with certain rights, and assigns powers to regulators to ask for demonstrations of accountability or even impose fines in cases where an organisation is not complying with GDPR requirements. Understanding GDPR requirements can sometimes be a daunting task. So, let us understand the key GDPR requirements.
1) Lawful, fair and transparent processing
The companies that process personal data are asked to process the personal data in a lawful, fair and transparent manner. Now, what does this mean? Let us understand this:
- Lawful means all processing should be based on a legitimate purpose.
- Fair means companies take responsibility and do not process data for any purpose other than the legitimate purposes.
- Transparent means that companies must inform data subjects about the processing activities on their personal data.
2) Limitation of purpose, data and storage
The companies are expected to limit the processing, collect only that data which is necessary, and not keep personal data once the processing purpose is completed. This would effectively bring the following requirements:
- forbid processing of personal data outside the legitimate purpose for which the personal data was collected
- mandate that no personal data, other than what is necessary, be requested
- ask that personal data should be deleted once the legitimate purpose for which it was collected is fulfilled
3) Data subject rights
The data subjects have been assigned the right to ask the company what information it has about them, and what the company does with this information. In addition, a data subject has the right to ask for correction, object to processing, lodge a complaint, or even ask for the deletion or transfer of his or her personal data.
As and when the company has the intent to process personal data beyond the legitimate purpose for which that data was collected, a clear and explicit consent must be asked from the data subject. Once collected, this consent must be documented, and the data subject is allowed to withdraw his consent at any moment.
Also, for the processing of children’s data, GDPR requires explicit consent of the parents (or guardian) if the child’s age is under 16.
5) Personal data breaches
The organisations must maintain a Personal Data Breach Register and, based on severity, the regulator and data subject should be informed within 72 hours of identifying the breach.
6) Privacy by Design
Companies should incorporate organisational and technical mechanisms to protect personal data in the design of new systems and processes; that is, privacy and protection aspects should be ensured by default.
7) Data Protection Impact Assessment
To estimate the impact of changes or new actions, a Data Protection Impact Assessment should be conducted when initiating a new project, change, or product. The Data Protection Impact Assessment is a procedure that needs to be carried out when a significant change is introduced in the processing of personal data. This change could be a new process, or a change to an existing process that alters the way personal data is being processed.
8) Data transfers
The controller of personal data has the accountability to ensure that personal data is protected and GDPR requirements respected, even if processing is being done by a third party. This means controllers have the obligation to ensure the protection and privacy of personal data when that data is being transferred outside the company, to a third party and / or other entity within the same company.
9) Data Protection Officer
When there is significant processing of personal data in an organisation, the organisation should assign a Data Protection Officer. When assigned, the Data Protection Officer would have the responsibility of advising the company about compliance with EU GDPR requirements.
10) Awareness and training
Organisations must create awareness among employees about key GDPR requirements, and conduct regular trainings to ensure that employees remain aware of their responsibilities with regard to the protection of personal data and identification of personal data breaches as soon as possible.