Simple Steps to GDPR Compliance9867581
With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) looming, you may nicely be one of the numerous now frantically assessing business processes and systems to ensure you do not fall foul of the new Regulation come implementation in May 2018. Even if you have been spared operating on a direct compliance project, any new initiative inside your company is likely to include an element of GDPR conformity. And as the deadline moves ever closer, businesses will be seeking to train their workers on the basics of the new regulation, especially those that have access to individual data.
The fundamentals of GDPR
So what is all the fuss about and how is the new law so different to the information protection directive that it replaces?
The initial key distinction is one of scope. GDPR goes beyond safeguarding against the misuse of personal data such as email addresses and phone numbers. The Regulation applies to any form of personal data that could identify an EU citizen, including user names and IP addresses. Furthermore, there is no distinction in between information held on an person in a company or individual capacity - it is all classified as individual data identifying an person and is consequently covered by the new Regulation.
Secondly, GDPR does away with the comfort of the "opt-out" currently enjoyed by many companies. Rather, applying the strictest of interpretations, utilizing individual information of an EU citizen, demands that such consent be freely offered, specific, informed and unambiguous. It requires a good indication of agreement - it can't be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity.
It is this scope, coupled with the strict interpretation that has had advertising and business leaders alike in such a fluster. And rightly so. Not only will the company need to be compliant with the new law, it may, if challenged, be required to demonstrate this compliance. To make things even much more difficult, the law will apply not just to newly acquired data post Might 2018, but also to that currently held. So if you have a database of contacts, to whom you have freely marketed in the past, with out their express consent, even providing the person an choice to opt-out, whether now or previously, won't cover it.
Consent requirements to be gathered for the actions you intend to take. Obtaining consent just to USE the information, in any form won't be sufficient. Any list of contacts you have or intend to buy from a third party vendor could therefore become obsolete. With out the consent from the people listed for your company to use their data for the action you had intended, you won't be able to make use of the data.
But it's not all as bad as it appears. At first glance, GDPR looks like it could choke business, especially on-line media. But that's truly not the intention. From a B2C perspective, there could be fairly a mountain to climb, as in most instances, companies will be reliant on gathering consent. Nevertheless, there are two other mechanisms by which use of the data can be legal, which in some cases will support B2C actions, and will nearly definitely cover most areas of B2B activity.
"Contractual necessity" will stay a lawful basis for processing individual information below GDPR. This indicates that if it's required that the individual's information is utilized to fulfil a contractual obligation with them or take steps at their request to enter into a contractual agreement, no further consent will be needed. In layman's terms then, utilizing a person's get in touch with particulars to generate a contract and fulfil it is permissible.
There is also the route of the "legitimate interests" mechanism, which remains a lawful basis for processing personal information. The exception is exactly where the interests of those using the information are overridden by the interests of the impacted information topic. It is reasonable to assume, that cold calling and emailing legitimate company prospects, identified via their job title and employer, will still be possible under GDPR.