Table of Contents:
- Introduction to GDPR Compliance
- What are the key principles of the GDPR?
- What rights do individuals have under the GDPR?
- What are the legal bases for processing personal data under the GDPR?
- Ensuring Ongoing GDPR Compliance
- The Consequences of Non-Compliance with GDPR
- The Role of a Solicitor in GDPR Compliance
What is the GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection law that came into effect on May 25, 2018. It replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive, which had been the main data protection law in the EU for over 20 years. The GDPR applies to any organization that processes personal data of individuals in the EU, regardless of where the organization is based.
What are the key principles of the GDPR?
The GDPR sets out several key principles that organizations must follow when processing personal data:
- Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency: organizations must have a legal basis for processing personal data, and they must be transparent about how they use it.
- Purpose limitation: organizations must collect personal data for specific, explicit, and legitimate purposes, and they must not use it for any other purposes.
- Data minimization: organizations must only collect and process the personal data that is necessary for the purposes for which it is being collected.
- Accuracy: organizations must take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal data they process is accurate and up to date.
- Storage limitation: organizations must not keep personal data for longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it is being processed.
- Integrity and confidentiality: organizations must take appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, or destruction.
What rights do individuals have under the GDPR?
Under the GDPR, individuals have several rights in relation to their personal data:
- The right to be informed: organizations must provide clear and concise information about how they use personal data, including their purposes, legal basis, and retention periods.
- The right of access: individuals have the right to access their personal data that is being processed by an organization, and to obtain a copy of it.
- The right to rectification: individuals have the right to request the correction of inaccurate personal data or the completion of incomplete personal data.
- The right to erasure (the “right to be forgotten”): in certain circumstances, individuals have the right to request the deletion of their personal data.
- The right to restrict processing: individuals have the right to request that an organization stops processing their personal data, but does not delete it.
- The right to data portability: individuals have the right to request that their personal data be transferred to another organization in a commonly used and machine-readable format.
- The right to object: individuals have the right to object to the processing of their personal data for certain purposes, such as direct marketing.
- The right not to be subject to automated decision-making: individuals have the right not to be subject to a decision that is based solely on automated processing, including profiling, that has a legal or similarly significant effect on them.
What are the legal bases for processing personal data under the GDPR?
The GDPR sets out six legal bases for processing personal data:
- Consent: organizations can process personal data if they have obtained the explicit and freely given consent of the individual.
- Contract: organizations can process personal data if it is necessary to perform a contract with the individual, or to take steps at their request before entering into a contract.
- Legal obligation: organizations can process personal data if it is necessary to comply with a legal obligation.
- Vital interests: organizations can process personal data if it is necessary to protect the vital interests of the individual or of another person.
- Public task: organizations can process personal data if it is necessary for the performance of a task that is in the public interest or that is carried out in the exercise of official authority.
Ensuring Ongoing Compliance
Achieving GDPR compliance is not a one-time process. It is important to continuously review and update your data protection policies and practices to ensure ongoing compliance. This may involve conducting regular data audits, reviewing and updating your privacy policies, and providing ongoing training to employees.
6. The Consequences of Non-Compliance with GDPR
GDPR imposes strict fines and penalties for non-compliance. The maximum fine for a GDPR violation is 4% of the company’s annual global revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater). This is a significant increase from the previous maximum fine of €1 million or 2% of annual global revenue under the Data Protection Act 1998.
In addition to financial penalties, non-compliance with GDPR can also result in reputational damage to a company. Data breaches and failures to protect personal data can harm a company’s reputation and lead to a loss of customer trust. This can have serious consequences for businesses, particularly in the current climate where data protection and privacy are increasingly important to consumers.
It is therefore essential for businesses to ensure compliance with GDPR to avoid the potential consequences of non-compliance. A solicitor can provide guidance on the steps that a business can take to ensure compliance with GDPR and avoid any potential fines or reputational damage.
7. Seeking Legal Advice
Navigating the complex landscape of data protection laws and regulations can be challenging, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Seeking legal advice from a solicitor with expertise in GDPR compliance can help ensure that your business is compliant and avoid costly fines and penalties. A solicitor can help you understand your obligations under the GDPR, review and update your data protection policies, and provide guidance on how to achieve and maintain compliance.
If you need help with any aspect of the process, our team at Lawlex Solicitors is here to assist you. Our experienced lawyers can provide guidance on business structure, company registration, compliance, and other legal matters. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you set up a company in the UK.