General Data Protection Regulation

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European data protection regulators are introducing a new and tightened version of data privacy laws, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The brand new overhaul is proposed to come into effect on May 25, 2018, with companies expected to be GDPR compliant before this date or face hefty fines.

The new legislation, which has been in the pipeline since it was approved by the European Parliament and European Council in 2016, will reform the way businesses and organisations can utilise their users’ personal information, not only companies in Europe but worldwide.

They will now serve to regulate information from every organisation across the globe which has user data of any citizen in the European Union, regardless of the company’s headquarters.

The GDPR will also continue to apply to the UK even if it leaves the EU. The data law revamp is the largest in twenty years, with the last framework drawn up in 1995, before the rise of the internet.

The new laws will ensure that businesses and public sector organisations maintain full transparency between themselves and users. They will also certify that any potential
data leaks are prevented by crafting inbuilt privacy features into their systems.

New rights to access company information will make transparency between companies and end -users much quicker, cheaper and more effective. Organisations will be obligated to report data privacy breaches to the Information Commissioner.

The change comes prior to last month’s data privacy scandal in which data mining company Cambridge Analytica used Facebook to collect personal information from over 50 million Facebook users to exploit in election campaigns.

Under the new laws, any data breaches will result in fines based on 4% of global turnover. The GDPR’s website states that it aims to “protect and empower” EU Citizens data privacy.
UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Dunham, who is heading the data protection focus says, “We want you to feel prepared, equipped, and excited about the GDPR.

I want to reassure you that there is no deadline…25th May is not the end. It is the beginning.”

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