The new General Data Protection Regulation (AKA GDPR) is not another directive;in May 2018 it is set to become an enforceable law that will change the world of data protection as we know it. How it all began On April 2016, the EU parliament approved the new regulation, replacing the current directive, according to which businesses have been operating for the past 20 years. Organisations that work with or process EU residents` data were given a two-year transition period to plan for and implement the necessary changes to their daily processes and policies. This two years period is about to end. The Regulation Different types of entities First, it is important to understand the two types of entities to which the regulation refers: “Data controller” – a person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be processed. “Data processor” – any person (other than an employee of the data controller) who processes the data on behalf of the data controller. The Major Differences Although the new regulation maintains key principles of the previous directive, it includes various changes. Here are some of the major ones: Business location – The regulation has extra-territorial applicability, meaning that whether your company is controlling the data or just processing it, if that personal data is of subjects residing in the European Union, this regulation applies to you. Heavy Penalties – Don’t say you didn’t know! Organisations found not compliant with the new regulation will be heavily fined with up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (the greater of the two). Request for consent – Want to use personal data for business purposes? You will now need to obtain explicit consent from the user prior to using the information. This will be done by presenting the user with an easily understood terms and conditions form, which will also contain the purpose for which the data is processed. Breach Notification – Have been breached? If that breach puts the personal data you are controlling or processing at risk, you may be obligated to report it within 72 hours. Exposure of this kind of information could not only cause financial damage, but also leave a significant stain on the company’s reputation. Transparency – Data subjects will be able to obtain, from the data controller, a confirmation as to whether information concerning them is being processed by the controller, in what form and for what purposes. The data controller shall provide the subject with a copy of the personal data being held free of charge. Right to be forgotten – In the case that the data subject withdrew its consent or that the processing of the data is no longer relevant to the original purpose, data subjects will have the right to ask the data controller to completely erase their information, stop processing and disseminating it. Data Portability – Data subjects will have the right to receive the personal data form previously provided to a data controller, in order to transmit it to another controller. Privacy by design – This will no longer be considered an addition to a product, rather a legal requirement that must be included from the beginning of the product design. Data Protection Officers (DPOs) – Certain organisations will be obligated to appoint a Data Protection Officer, who will be responsible for overseeing the organisation`s data protection strategy and implementation, and to ensure compliance with the new regulation. It is important to note that the regulation does not specify a framework for adherence, but puts the responsibility on organizations to maintain best practices for data security. That means each organization has its unique needs and adaptation when it comes to the GDPR. GDPR and BREXIT UK Businesses might ask themselves whether they should prepare for the new regulation. As they are due to leave the European Union following Brexit, will it apply to them? The answer, in short is YES. Here’s why: The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 2019, meaning it will still be part of the EU when the regulation is due to come into force (May 2018). Since the regulation applies to any organisation that works with or processes EU residents’ data, most UK businesses will still have to comply with the regulation, regardless of Brexit. This August, the British government published its statement regarding the country`s data protection bill. Much of the bill aims to implement the GDPR, meaning that either way, UK businesses will need to be compliant. Final note So, there you have it. If you’re in the world of data protection and working with the data of any EU individuals, you better start thinking fast. You have until May 2018 to plan and implement a system that’s compliant. It’s no longer an option, it’s now the law.