Understanding The EU General Data Protection Regulations

Understanding The EU General Data Protection Regulations

The EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) can be regarded as the strongest data protection laws currently in the world. These rules are meant to affect how people can access data and impose restrictions on what organizations are free to do with personal information. According to the EU, the GDPR was structured with the purpose of protecting the data shared by people online by harmonizing rules regarding data privacy within its member states.

The GDPR came into effect on the 25th of May in 2008, replacing the 1995 data protection directive that had in place for the previous two decades or so. Within that period, people’s lives have become immensely data-reliant, with people sharing personal details on the internet. Since European countries adopted the GDPR, it has received plaudits across the globe and has been recognized as a symbol of progression governing the management of people’s personal information.

Privacy of personal data is the very focus of the GDPR. this involves data that could associate a person with a name, geographical location information, or even their home or work IP address. There are categories of personal data that are awarded higher priority by the GDPR such as their race, ethnic origin, religious affiliation, as well as their political opinion and biometric data. These laws apply to any business from within and without the EU as long as it conducts activities in the EU.

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The GDPR’s Key Principles

Article 5 of the GDPR’s framework has listed down 7 principles that include:

  • Purpose limitation
  • Fairness and transparency
  • Integrity and confidentiality
  • Accuracy
  • Data minimization
  • Accountability
  • Storage limitation

Data minimization is not a recent principle but its importance still ranks highly especially in a world where more information is created every day. GDPR laws restrict organizations from collecting more personal data that they require from their users. For instance, it is not necessary for an online retailer to collect information on the religious or racial backgrounds of their users.

Under the pre-existing data protection directive, data security ranked only seventh. Currently, its importance cannot be defined. The GDPR states that personal information should be protected from illegal or unauthorized processing and calls for organizations to set up strong data security measures to avoid Incidents such as hacked access, accidental loss, breach, destruction, or damage.

The GDPR has not outlined the right standards of data security, and rightly so because a doctor’s personal practice may not put in place the same level of protection as a bank would. However, proper access measures to information should be in place regardless.

Accountability is the only new principle introduced by the EU General Data Protection Regulations and it was included so that organizations can authenticate that they are well and truly complying with the GDPR laws. Accountability can involve restricting information access, or training company staff on modern practices of data protection handling.

One of the biggest talking points revolving the GDPR is the ability for regulators to place fines on organizations that are found to be in breach of the GDPR laws.