Being compliant with the new legal regime of the GDPR is a major challenge businesses face when using data connected with countries in the EU. Here is a summary of the most important issues.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Article 8, protects everybody’s personal information. Effective May 24, 2016, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR” or “the Regulation”) began to protect this right in the digital age.
One of the most important new developments from the GDPR is that the same rules apply to all companies, regardless of where they are incorporated. The EU felt that European companies have to adhere to stricter standards than companies established outside the EU, but that are also doing business in the EU. Under the Regulation, companies based outside of Europe will have to apply the same rules when they offer goods or services in the EU market. The EU wants to create a level playing field for all businesses.
The Regulation will be enforceable starting May 25, 2018. This means that all globally based companies offering goods or services in the EU have to fully comply with the Regulation by that date, at the latest.
The scope of information regarded by the EU as personal data and, therefore, protected by the Regulation is extremely broad. Personal data is any personal information, which can be used to identify an individual, directly or indirectly, such as his/her name, telephone number, email address, place and date of birth, etc.
Under the Regulation, the vast portion of HR data used by employers meets the broad definition of protected personal data:
The Regulation provides an extensive (it includes 99 articles) and dense legal framework. Companies that have personal data must:
The EU data protection authorities and regulators will be able to fine companies that do not comply with EU rules up to € 20 Million/$ 21 Million or up to 4% of their global annual turnover.
The Regulation went into effect on May 24, 2016, but enforcement begins on May 25, 2018. It is expected that the authorities will immediately begin to investigate and fine non-EU businesses to set an early example.
Regulators have already been flexing their muscle with high fines for EU businesses violating privacy rights. In 2015, they fined a German national insurance company € 1.3 Million ($1.4 Million) for more minor privacy violations. Other recent examples are Spain fined € 900,000 ($1.0 Million) and France fined € 150,000 ($168,000).
If you have locations in the EU, now is the time to find out your options for compliance.Save as PDF
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