What is the GDPR?
If you run a business where you control or process personal data ("information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier" such as name, address, passport number) you're probably aware that you have to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Well, from 25th May 2018, you'll need to start complying with new EU regulations - the GDPR.
Why is it happening?
There are two main reasons why this is happening.
Firstly, the European Union want to give people more control over how their personal data is used - back in 1998, when the Data Protection Act came into force, the internet was nowhere near as widely used as it is today. Facebook hadn't even been invented yet!
So the new regulations take how our data is used in the online world into account.
Secondly, the EU wants to make data protection legislation easier to follow by making the regulation the same throughout the EU (even though we're Brexiting, the new regulation will still apply to the UK).
These regulations will also mean that we have more control over what companies can do with our data.
Will the GDPR apply to me and my business?
If you process anyone's personal data, probably!
Although Article 30 of the GDPR declares that businesses employing less than 250 people will not be bound by it, there are stipulations that mean that most businesses will need to follow the regulation, however small they are.
If you regularly process personal data (not just clients - employees and suppliers, too), your best bet is to comply with the GDPR.
So what do I actually need to do?
The basic principles require personal data to be:
"a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and
f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures."
I won't list everything here - it would be the longest blog post ever - but the Information Commissioner's Office has lots of helpful info to prepare.
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