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GDPR – what every UK business needs to know

15 Dec 2017
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What is GDPR?

The sheer amount of data traded between businesses across Europe continues to grow exponentially. However, the EU’s 28 members have disparate laws when it comes to how that data is protected.

In 2012, the European Commission announced the proposal of “a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy”. This, in turn, became known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and it will come into effect in 2018. The key objectives of GDPR, as set out by the EU, are as follows:

  • A harmonised pan-EU regulation, replacing the existing patchwork of myriad national regulations
  • An improvement of the current system of binding corporate rules for a safe transfer of data outside the EU
  • A regime allowing better control over an individual’s data

That last point means all EU citizens will have greater control over their digital data including what that data will be used for.

Facts and figures

May 25, 2018 – The date that GDPR will be implemented across the EU, which will supersede the UK’s Data Protection Act.

£500,000 – The current maximum fine that can be imposed by the Information Commissioners Office. TalkTalk was fined £400,000 in October 2016 following the theft of personal data involving 168,000 of its customers. In August of this year, Islington Council was fined £70,000 for failing to keep the information of 89,000. Penalties can also be issued to individuals. In fact, a number of former NHS employees have been found guilty and fined after accessing medicals records without prior consent.

20m – The maximum fine that could be imposed upon a business for failing to protect its data. That fine could either be €20m or 4% of a company’s global turnover, whichever figure is higher. Even though these figures would only apply in exceptional cases, the fines will still be significantly higher than anything previously handed out by the ICO.

72 hours –  Otherwise known as Article 33. This part of GDPR potentially poses the most challenges for companies across Europe. When a business finds out that a data breach has occurred it will have 72 hours to notify the national data regulator and everyone affected by that breach otherwise it could be liable for a fine.
This is designed to make companies have better structures in place to deal with such a problem.

91 – the percentage of IoD members who regards cyber security as an important issue. However, only 57% said they had a formal cyber security strategy.

March 29, 2019 The date the UK leaves the EU. However, GDPR will continue affect all UK businesses that offer any type of service to individuals in the EU and collects or processes an EU citizen’s personal information.

An article published earlier this month by the Law Society helps to further clarify the situation on GDPR and Brexit and states that “GDPR does not need to be ‘signed into British law’ while the UK remains a member of the EU. Post-Brexit, it will still be the law (until the government decides to replace it) because of the provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.”

What should you do next?

The IoD’s Information and Advisory service has provided the following checklist of what UK businesses must do to be ready for GDPR:

  • Continuity plan for data breaches.
  • Ensure accountability for data breaches is understood by all your staff.
  • Ensure you design privacy into your products and services
  • Consider the legal basis of how you use your data
  • Check you have appropriate privacy notices & policies
  • Be prepared for subject data requests from hold personal information about
  • Consider and agree who is responsible when data is transferred or processed
  • Set up a framework that ensures you have a legitimate reason for transferring personal data.

Are you GDPR ready?

To ensure you and your company are ready to tackle 2018 visit our membership services page for access to specialist information and factsheets.

The ICO provides comprehensive information, including news, blogs and updates on all things GDPR ico.org.uk