On April 8, 2016 the European Union adopted a new regulation called the General Data Protection Regulation. It replaces the EU Data Protection Directive and applies to all member countries without the need for national legislation. After four years of discussion and amendments, the regulation officially takes effect on May 25, 2018 and places the EU at the forefront of data protection standards.
The EU Data Directive, established in 1995, was a great step towards protecting the personal information of EU residents, but because it wasn’t normalised across all member states, there were inconsistencies that made it difficult for organisations to operate in multiple states. The GDPR addresses that shortfall by defining specific standards for the protection of data as required for all data controllers, regardless of location. Ultimately, the end-goal of the GDPR is to make regulation easy for data controllers around the world to follow, while also maximising the protection of data for EU residents.
Article 4 of the GDPR defines personal data as:
“any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person ('data subject'); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an
identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;”
In order to comply to the full scope of the GDPR, it is recommended that organisations seek legal counsel.
At a minimum, here are a few high-level action items:
Organisations that fail to comply will face significant fines—as high as four percent of the organization’s annual revenue. Furthermore, individuals may take action against any entity that improperly handled their personal data.
More information on GDPR can be found here on the Club's GDPR page.