The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents a challenge in how data controllers and data processors handle information about people. More precisely, protections for personal data must be designed into the existing systems, which translates into the fact that you must re-examine how you go about technology in your organization.
Technology is the main problem the GDPR is attempting to solve. The GDPR guarantees consumers certain rights, such as the right to withdraw consent, so there are rules companies must follow to stop customers from being exploited. Not only must an enterprise obtain consent to collect data, but it must also implement appropriate technical measures to protect personally identifiable information.
The GDPR is inherently complicated, or in other words, it’s difficult to understand. The consequences of not protecting personal data include a reprimand, a temporary/definite ban on business operations, and a fine of up to €20 million. When someone gives their phone number or credit card number, they feel confident their data is in the right hands; if not, they might take their business elsewhere. If you’re looking for advice on how to comply, here’s a brief summary of the leading technical requirements:
Before Collecting Personal Data, Give Your Privacy Notice
Taking note of the nature, scope, context, and purposes of processing any piece of information that relates to an identifiable person, you can implement adequate technical measures to ensure (and demonstrate) processing is undertaken in line with the GDPR.
If you’re collecting any type of user data (email address, phone number, IP address, etc.), the first thing you must do is provide a privacy notice informing individuals how you manage their personal data and adhere to legal requirements. The privacy notification must be clearly displayed in the window, contrasting with the background to grab the reader’s attention.
To ensure the use of personal data is clear and transparent for your customers, you must include key pieces of information, such as:
- Your email address, phone number, and similar contact details
- The types of data you collect (health or biometric data have additional requirements)
- The purpose for which the information is gathered
- The entity(ies) the personal data will be shared with
- The retention period for personal data
It goes without saying the privacy notice should be written in plain language to obtain opt-in consent. Regulators are calling for clearer disclosures, so craft a consumer-friendly privacy notice.
Notify The Appropriate Supervisory Authority of a Data Breach
If you’re storing unnecessary amounts of personal information on your customers, you’re at a higher risk of having those details stolen. Cyber incidents targeting small, medium, and large businesses are costing the economy billions per year, so it’s essential to follow data security rules to protect against possible financial and legal repercussions.
When your company experiences a data breach, notify the appropriate supervisory authority within 72 hours of becoming aware of the incident. The notice must include information regarding the nature of the security breach, its likely consequences, and the measures taken to limit the adverse effects.
Suppose you don’t obey or respect the law. In that case, the affected individual can claim compensation if they’ve suffered material or nonmaterial damages, showing that you failed to take all reasonable means to protect the safety and security of their data. Finding the right precedent can give the victim an edge to win their case. After all, a guide on how to sue for compensation is just a click away.
The person whose data was involved in the breach must be informed about what happened only if the incident is likely to result in a high risk to their rights and freedoms. The affected individual can take the necessary steps to ensure their information won’t be misused.
It’s crucial to move quickly to secure your systems and address the vulnerabilities that caused the data breach. The exact steps you need to take depend on the nature of the cyber incident and the structure of your enterprise.
More often than not, a comprehensive breach response includes forensics, information security, human resources, and investor relations, to mention a few. Take the affected equipment offline at once, but don’t turn the system off until a cyber security expert arrives. Most importantly, don’t destroy evidence; otherwise, you won’t be able to demonstrate compliance with the applicable code of conduct.
Enable Data Subjects to View/Update the Data Collected
Data subjects have the right to request and receive a copy of the information they possess to share it with another data controller or processor. Further copies requested are subject to a reasonable fee based on administrative costs as they’re unfounded or excessive.
Both the data subject and the controller will have a record of the request and its content if a problem arises in the future; allow customers to automatically download their personal data directly through your website. If the request is complex or involves a large number of details, you can respond within two months or reduce the number of documents provided.
Let’s not forget about the right to rectification. Data subjects have the right to have personal information rectified if it’s inaccurate or incomplete. Update a person’s name, address, phone number, marital status, education, and other personal information if necessary.
In case you didn’t already know, supervisory authorities have power over the activities of data collectors and processors. Complying with the GDPR takes a little bit of technology, even if it’s just for keeping records – technology is the problem, but it can also provide the solution. Reports provide actionable intelligence around data exposure and user activities, not to mention your security posture.
The need for technology innovation arises across the data protection law. For the program to work effectively, it’s imperative to tackle risk management, functionality, and data management. If any of the aforementioned pillars is overlooked, the company is at risk of operational and legal failure. All things considered, if you fail to translate the requirements of the GDPR into your technology, you fail to perform according to expectations, which in turn can lead to reputational damage.