EU general data protection regulations are facing fundamental change in the near future. The changes arise due to rapidly changing consumer and mobile technology developments. These forced the EU to rethink its approach and ensure respect and protection for fundamental human rights.
Draft regulations first appeared from the European Commission in 2012. Now, a little over four years on, the final version of the GDPR appeared in the Official Journal of the European Union. This will have far-reaching consequences for all legal practices as it effectively means some of the most stringent data protection laws in the world will come into force from 25th May 2018.
In normal circumstances, there would now be a two-year gap to permit individual EU members to change their own legislation to incorporate the regulations. However, GDPR will circumvent this by coming into effect directly on 25th May 2018.
Key changes include:
The new regulations will affect EU-domiciled and non-EU domiciled organisations in the same manner. In practical terms this means the GDPR will capture more overseas organisations. Additionally, overseas organisations will have to designate a representative within the EU.
GDPR will boast some of the highest non-compliance sanctions including income based fines of up to 4% of worldwide turnover. Fines can also be imposed in conjunction with other sanctions.
GDPR also makes it considerably easier for individuals to claim compensation. This extends beyond just material damage and will include compensation for distress even where there is no financial loss.
The list is almost endless. Further changes include:
I indicated earlier the extensive nature of the legislation! To get the full picture, it’s worth taking a look at the article by DLA Piper which you can view here.
GDPR enhances the rights enjoyed by individuals under current legislation and introduces a new right to data portability. Greater transparency is also required from anyone who controls personal data and the following information must be provided at the time the data is obtained:
Additionally, where a controller wishes to process existing data for a new purpose, they must inform the individual concerned.
The extent of the regulations is bewildering and I have only touched on some of the key points here. My second article, EU GDPR #2: How can legal practices prepare? describes a few basic preparations that you can make to ensure compliance.
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