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Data Privacy

What is GDPR?

DataGrail, June 16, 2022

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a far-reaching, broad, and robust data security law protecting all EU citizens from data privacy breaches and data misuse.

An extension of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, GDPR applies not only to EU citizens but also to companies that target them as customers—even if they don’t operate under an EU business license. 

So, what is GDPR, and what does it contain? In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of data privacy laws as well as everything you’ll need to know to be GDPR compliant. 

The Seven Principles of GDPR

To answer this guide’s central question—What is GDPR compliance?—we’ll explore the seven central tenets contained within the data protection act.

#1 Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency

GDPR stipulates that “personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject.” 

What does this mean? According to the data protection act text:

  • Consumers must give user consent to data collection
  • Requests for data collection and user consent must be written in clear and plain language

Entities must also provide any information requested by consumers concerning their sensitive personal data. 

#2 Purpose Limitation

Companies must collect customer data for “specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.”

In other words, entities collecting sensitive personal data must:

  1. Disclose why they’re collecting information from consumers
  2. Only collect the information necessary to complete the task or transaction

However, companies may collect additional data for any of the following purposes (as long as they warn consumers in advance):

  • Archiving purposes that are in the public interest
  • Scientific or historical research
  • Statistics collection and analysis

#3 Data Minimization

An extension of the principle above, data collectors must only collect personal data that is “necessary in relation to the purposes for which [the data] is processed.”

This data processing minimization effort protects consumers from sharing irrelevant data—since all data provided to companies have the possibility of being maliciously intercepted during data processing, GDPR aims to present a data breach by decreasing the amount of personal data exchanged. 

#4 Accuracy

GDPR regulation requires that all collected personal data should be “accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.”

This serves as a crucial basis for one of the most important elements of GDPR—the right to data erasure, sometimes called the right to be forgotten. 

Businesses should also be prepared to delete inaccurate or out-of-date data. If a company collects a consumer’s home address, and they move, the consumer has the right to ask that their former address be deleted from the company’s system. 

#5 Storage Limitation

GDPR’s storage limitation stipulates that companies should only store collected sensitive data for as long as it’s needed.

Let’s explore two examples:

  • A customer enters their home address when they order a product from an online store. Per GDPR requirements, the company should delete the client’s address once delivery is complete.
  • If a client of an architecture firm is pleased with the company’s design services, the firm may ask the client to provide a positive reference for future projects. Once the firm no longer wishes to use this client as a reference, they should delete unnecessary contact information from their system. 

#6 Integrity and Confidentiality

Per GDPR, companies must securely process sensitive data to prevent the following:

  • Unauthorized or unlawful processing
  • Accidental loss
  • Destruction
  • Damage

One of the broadest elements of the data protection law, the integrity and confidentiality clause requires that companies use “appropriate technical or organizational measures” to keep consumers’ information safe—a data privacy platform or internal standard operating procedure (SOP) could fall within these parameters.   

#7 Accountability

The final central tenet of GDPR law requires that companies who collect personal consumer data can demonstrate compliance with the six parameters listed above.

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How to Comply with GDPR

GDPR law doesn’t just apply to businesses operating in the EU. 

Any business that advertises or serves customers in the EU is subject to GDPR rules and all consequences of noncompliance. 

Whether your business’s privacy plan is a point of pride or you’re just getting started in the digital space, your company should make every effort to comply with GDPR rules.

Two general processes that could help your business create an airtight data privacy plan include:

  1. Creating a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) – If your company doesn’t have an SOP on file for data collection, privacy monitoring, and breach resolution, it’s time to create one.
  2. Documenting everything – Keep a log of your compliance efforts, data-related incidents, and long-term improvement plans.

See Related: What is CCPA vs CPRA?

DataGrail: Helping Your Business Protect Critical Assets

What is GDPR Compliance? In short, it’s the act of preparing for and complying with the regulations that provide EU residents with some of the most robust data privacy protections in the world.

If you advertise to or serve customers in the EU, it’s time to implement a compliance plan that will protect your clients and their personal information. DataGrail can help—our all-in-one, integrated data privacy monitoring platform gives you the power to evaluate the health of your privacy system, identify potential breaches, and create an airtight and secure system that will comply with multiple data privacy laws.

Request a demo of our platform today, and transform your business’s privacy plan for tomorrow. 

Sources: What Is GDPR, the EU’s New Data Protection Law?. 

Office Journal of the European Union. Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council. 

Forbes. The Birth of GDPR: What Is It and What You Need to Know. 

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