At its very core, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of new regulations which were explicitly designed to give EU citizens more control over their data. It aims to simplify rules for both businesses and citizens in the European Union, so they can have more to benefit from today’s digital economy.
From social media to banks, to retailers, and even governments, almost every service collects and analyzes personal data. Things like names, address, credit card numbers, etc., are all assembled, analyzed, and stored by various organizations. These reforms here are aimed to reflect this by bringing a set of rules and obligations across Europe surrounding personal data, consent, and privacy.
What Is Personal Data Under the GDPR?
Under this legislation, names, addresses, and photos are considered to be personal data. The GDPR also extends this definition to include the IP address, as well as genetic or biometric data, for instance. It is anything that can be used to identify an individual.
As many of us are fully aware, data breaches are evermore common nowadays. Due in large part to the Internet of Things (IoT), information can get lost or stolen, sometimes ending up in the hands of those who have malicious intent.
Under GDPR terms, organizations are obligated to ensure that personal data is gathered legally, and can protect it from misuse and exploitation, as well as to respect the rights of data owners.
What Does the GDPR Mean for Businesses?
This legislation establishes itself across the entirety of the European Union but also applies to companies doing business within the member states. It means that the GDPR extends further than the border of the EU, to every international organization that has any sort of activity on “EU soil.”
The hope is that, by having a single supervisory authority on data legislation across all EU member states, it will make it much cheaper and more accessible for businesses to operate within the region. The European Commission claims that the GDPR will, indeed, save 2.3 bn. Euros per year all across Europe.
“By unifying Europe’s rules on data protection, lawmakers are creating a business opportunity and encouraging innovation,” the Commission says.
In theory, the GDPR guarantees that data protection safeguards will be built into all products and services at their inception, providing a so-called ‘data protection by design’in all new technologies, going forward. Pseudonymization is also encouraged as a means to collect and analyze data, all the while keeping the users’ identity protected at the same time.
GDPR Breach Notifications
As of May 25, 2018, the GDPR came into force, and all organizations are now obliged to report data breaches that revolve around unauthorized access or loss of personal data. In some cases, companies also need to inform private citizens affected by the breach.
The most significant concern revolves around data breaches that could result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals and could lead to discrimination, financial loss, damaged reputations, loss of confidentiality, or any other sort of social or economic disadvantage. The data can include anything derived from names, addresses, dates of birth, bank details, health records, etc.
In the event of such a breach, the company needs to inform the relevant regulatory body, as well as all of those affected by the incident.