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Key Principles of GDPR: The Ultimate Guide to Data Privacy

Key Principles of GDPR: The Ultimate Guide to Data Privacy

Concerns about data privacy are growing day by day.

Software companies around the world are taking measures to ensure maximum data security.

The introduction of the GDPR guidelines less than two years ago, on May 25, 2018, was a significant step in the right direction.

After much deliberation and discussion on this topic, the General Data Protection Regulation finally came into effect in May 2018.

A two-year notice period was granted for companies to gradually adapt to the new legislation and adjust their operations accordingly.

On May 25, 2018, GDPR implementation became mandatory in all European Union and EFTA member states.

The United Kingdom, with its commercial status unaffected by Brexit so far, is still obligated to comply with GDPR and plans to implement new legislation very similar to GDPR once the transition period is over.

"What does GDPR mean?"

Here's a brief answer: GDPR is an English acronym that stands for 'General Data Protection Regulation'.

GDPR Explained for Beginners

Under this law, companies must ensure that their customers' personal data is protected, otherwise they may be subject to fines reaching millions of euros.

But What is Personal Data?

An important thing to note when defining personal data is the context in which it was collected or is being used.

If the data can be used to identify an individual, it will be defined as personal data.

Personal data refers to information that can be used to identify a living person.

Personal data includes:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Bank account details
  • Address or other location data
  • Contact number
  • IP address
  • Physical appearance
  • Any type of identification number
  • Education and employment records
  • Email address
  • Vehicle registration number

Race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious and political beliefs, medical/health data, and various other characteristics of a person fall into the category of highly sensitive personal data.

Who does GDPR apply to?

Although the General Data Protection Regulation was approved by the European Union, its terms are such that companies worldwide are required to ensure that their practices are in line with this regulation.

There are two main conditions for the law to apply to your business:

1. You are a company operating in a region within the European Union.

2. You are a company that has customers who are citizens of a region within the European Union.

If you fall into one (or both!) of these categories, any violation of GDPR terms will surely get you into trouble.

What is GDPR Compliance?

GDPR compliance refers to the action of ensuring that your company's practices and operations are in line with the regulations that GDPR imposes on businesses to follow.

You need to know what rules and conditions are provided in this legislation.

There are seven key principles of GDPR:

1. Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency

You must process data in a way that does not violate any laws or regulations.

You cannot hide the purpose of data collection from the people from whom you collect the data; you must be clear and honest with them and use plain language when communicating with them.

Data processing should also not result in any negative consequences for the customer.

2. Purpose Limitation

The purpose of data collection should be clearly communicated to your customers. You cannot use the data for any other purpose unless you have obtained the customer's consent in advance.

However, if you wish to use their data in the future for the common good, you may be authorized to do so.

3. Data Minimization

You cannot collect unnecessary data that is not relevant to the purpose of collection. You are only allowed to collect data that is relevant and will be useful for your operations. So, before you start collecting information, understand exactly what you need.

4. Accuracy

The data you collect and store must be 100% accurate, and don't forget: your customers also have the right to make changes to inaccurate or incomplete personal information. In case of any changes, you must immediately update your existing records.

5. Storage Limitation

You cannot keep data forever; you must define the period of time for which you will retain it.

Once that time has passed, you will be legally obligated to delete the information. If you have shared the data with a third party (with the consent of the customers, of course!), then you must ensure that they also delete it from their side.

6. Integrity and Confidentiality (Security)

This is one of the most important rules of GDPR.

Technological progress has also led to an increase in cybersecurity risks.

All data that you store in digital format on high-end servers must be protected, so you can use various types of encryption. In case of data loss or failure to protect customer data, be prepared to pay hefty fines!

You must also inform all individuals affected by the data breach. As soon as you discover the incident, you have 72 hours to make the information public.

7. Accountability

To demonstrate that you are complying with all the requirements set by GDPR, you must properly document the collection and processing of data.

GDPR, despite seeming burdensome for entrepreneurs, actually represents a hidden opportunity of great importance!

This regulation provides a clear and precise framework of rules to be followed and potential consequences in case of violations, raising awareness within companies. But there's more.

GDPR can actually become a powerful competitive tool.

Having a solid understanding of GDPR can help businesses build trust with customers, demonstrating that they take data protection seriously. Furthermore, companies that properly comply with GDPR can avoid heavy penalties, safeguarding their reputation and financial stability.

So, instead of perceiving GDPR as an obstacle, let's see it as an opportunity to improve our business practices and strengthen customer trust.