General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 ("GDPR") is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to individuals over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU. Superseding the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, the regulation contains provisions and requirements pertaining to the processing of personal data of individuals (formally called data subjects in the GDPR) inside the EEA, and applies to an enterprise established in the EEA or—regardless of its location and the data subjects' citizenship—that is processing the personal information of data subjects inside the EEA.
Controllers of personal data must put in place appropriate technical and organisational measures to implement the data protection principles. Business processes that handle personal data must be designed and built with consideration of the principles and provide safeguards to protect data (for example, using pseudonymization or full anonymization where appropriate), and use the highest-possible privacy settings by default, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit, informed consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately. No personal data may be processed unless it is done under a lawful basis specified by the regulation, or unless the data controller or processor has received an unambiguous and individualized affirmation of consent from the data subject. The data subject has the right to revoke this consent at any time.
A processor of personal data must clearly disclose any data collection, declare the lawful basis and purpose for data processing, and state how long data is being retained and if it is being shared with any third parties or outside of the EEA. Data subjects have the right to request a portable copy of the data collected by a processor in a common format, and the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances. Public authorities, and businesses whose core activities centre around regular or systematic processing of personal data, are required to employ a data protection officer (DPO), who is responsible for managing compliance with the GDPR. Businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy. In some cases, violators of the GDPR may be fined up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater.
The GDPR was adopted on 14 April 2016, and became enforceable beginning 25 May 2018. As the GDPR is a regulation, not a directive, it is directly binding and applicable.
In November 2018, Google was accused of GDPR privacy violations by 7 countries.
The regulation applies if the data controller (an organisation that collects data from EU residents), or processor (an organisation that processes data on behalf of a data controller like cloud service providers), or the data subject (person) is based in the EU. Under certain circumstances, The regulation also applies to organisations based outside the EU if they collect or process personal data of individuals located inside the EU. The regulation does not apply to the processing of data by a person for a "purely personal or household activity and thus with no connection to a professional or commercial activity." (Recital 18)
According to the European Commission, "personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer's IP address."The precise definitions of terms such as "personal data", "processing", "data subject", "controller" and "processor", are stated in Article 4 of the Regulation.
The regulation does not purport to apply to the processing of personal data for national security activities or law enforcement of the EU; however, industry groups concerned about facing a potential conflict of laws have questioned whether Article 48 of the GDPR could be invoked to seek to prevent a data controller subject to a third country's laws from complying with a legal order from that country's law enforcement, judicial, or national security authorities to disclose to such authorities the personal data of an EU person, regardless of whether the data resides in or out of the EU. Article 48 states that any judgement of a court or tribunal and any decision of an administrative authority of a third country requiring a controller or processor to transfer or disclose personal data may not be recognised or enforceable in any manner unless based on an international agreement, like a mutual legal assistance treaty in force between the requesting third (non-EU) country and the EU or a member state. The data protection reform package also includes a separate Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector that provides rules on personal data exchanges at national, European, and international levels.
A single set of rules will apply to all EU member states. Each member state will establish an independent supervisory authority (SA) to hear and investigate complaints, sanction administrative offences, etc. SAs in each member state will co-operate with other SAs, providing mutual assistance and organising joint operations. If a business has multiple establishments in the EU, it will have a single SA as its "lead authority", based on the location of its "main establishment" where the main processing activities take place. The lead authority will act as a "one-stop shop" to supervise all the processing activities of that business throughout the EU (Articles 46–55 of the GDPR).
A European Data Protection Board (EDPB) will co-ordinate the SAs. EDPB will replace the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. There are exceptions for data processed in an employment context or in national security that still might be subject to individual country regulations (Articles 2(2)(a) and 88 of the GDPR).
Lawfull basis for processing
Responsibility and Accountability
To be able to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR, the data controller must implement measures which meet the principles of data protection by design and by default. Data protection by design and by default (Article 25) require data protection measures to be designed into the development of business processes for products and services. Such measures include pseudonymising personal data, by the controller, as soon as possible (Recital 78). It is the responsibility and the liability of the data controller to implement effective measures and be able to demonstrate the compliance of processing activities even if the processing is carried out by a data processor on behalf of the controller (Recital 74).
When data is collected, data subjects must be clearly informed about the extent of data collection, the legal basis for processing of personal data, how long data is retained, if data is being transferred to a third-party and/or outside the EU, and disclosure of any automated decision-making that is made on a solely algorithmic basis. Data subjects must be provided with contact details for the data controller and their designated data protection officer, where applicable. Data subjects must also be informed of their privacy rights under the GDPR, including their right to revoke consent to data processing at any time, their right to view their personal data and access an overview of how it is being processed, their right to obtain a portable copy of the stored data, the right to erasure of data under certain circumstances, the right to contest any automated decision-making that was made on a solely algorithmicbasis, and the right to file complaints with a Data Protection Authority.
Data protection impact assessments (Article 35) have to be conducted when specific risks occur to the rights and freedoms of data subjects. Risk assessment and mitigation is required and prior approval of the data protection authorities is required for high risks.
Data protection by Design and by Default
Data protection by design and by default (Article 25) requires data protection to be designed into the development of business processes for products and services. Privacy settings must therefore be set at a high level by default, and technical and procedural measures should be taken by the controller to make sure that the processing, throughout the whole processing lifecycle, complies with the regulation. Controllers should also implement mechanisms to ensure that personal data is not processed unless necessary for each specific purpose.
A report by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security elaborates on what needs to be done to achieve privacy and data protection by default. It specifies that encryption and decryption operations must be carried out locally, not by remote service, because both keys and data must remain in the power of the data owner if any privacy is to be achieved. The report specifies that outsourced data storage on remote clouds is practical and relatively safe if only the data owner, not the cloud service, holds the decryption keys.
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Unless a data subject has provided informed consent to data processing for one or more purposes, personal data may not be processed unless there is at least one legal basis to do so. According to Article 6, the lawful purposes are:
(a) If the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data;
(b) To fulfill contractual obligations with a data subject, or for tasks at the request of a data subject who is in the process of entering into a contract;
(c) To comply with a data controller's legal obligations;
(d) To protect the vital interests of a data subject or another individual;
(e) To perform a task in the public interest or in official authority;
(f) For the legitimate interests of a data controller or a third party, unless these interests are overridden by interests of the data subject or her or his rights according to the Charter of Fundamental Rights (especially in the case of children).
If informed consent is used as the lawful basis for processing, consent must have been explicit for data collected and each purpose data is used for (Article 7; defined in Article 4). Consent must be a specific, freely-given, plainly-worded, and unambiguous affirmation given by the data subject; an online form which has consent options structured as an opt-out selected by default is a violation of the GDPR, as the consent is not unambiguously affirmed by the user. In addition, multiple types of processing may not be "bundled" together into a single affirmation prompt, as this is not specific to each use of data, and the individual permissions are not freely-given. (Recital 32)
Data subjects must be allowed to withdraw this consent at any time, and this process must be as easy as it was to originally opt in. (Article 7(3)) A data controller may not refuse service to users who decline consent to processing that is not strictly necessary in order to use the service. (Article 7(4)) Consent for children, defined in the regulation as being less than 16 years old (although with the option for member states to individually make it as low as 13 years old (Article 8(1)),must be given by the child's parent or custodian, and verifiable (Article 8).
If consent to processing was already provided under the Data Protection Directive, a data controller does not have to re-obtain consent if the processing is documented and obtained in compliance with the GDPR's requirements (Recital 171).