Four Points And A Stick: What You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation

by Poyner Spruill LLP
Contact

Poyner Spruill LLP

It's coming. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect on May 25, 2018. If your business involves processing EU citizen data, you will be subject to GDPR – even if your sole location is Morrisville, and you have never set foot in the European Union. Failure to comply with GDPR strictures will result in staggering penalties: as much as 4% of your global revenue or 20 million euros – whichever is higher.

Full compliance is complex and involves an exhaustive process. However, a company can begin to prepare immediately. The heart of the GDPR is consent: the premise that data belongs to the subject, and that it may only be collected with the full, informed, affirmative consent of that subject. The data subject may revoke consent at any time, may take their data to another service provider, and may limit how the data is used. With this in mind, companies must work with their IT departments to understand the following four things about their data practices:

  1. Inventory. In order to obtain informed consent, a company must know what data it has. This is particularly applicable because data may be retained in structures outside regular databases. It is often stored in myriad formats such as correspondence, spreadsheets, evaluations, documents, PowerPoint’s, and drafts. These must be documented in a searchable format. An accurate inventory is indispensable to comply with requests to edit, modify, or delete data. It is also necessary to furnish accurate disclosures to regulators and data subjects.
  2. Metadata. GDPR is premised on the notion that the data subject’s consent limits data retention to the time and purpose needed for business. That means that accurate metadata is necessary for compliance. Accurate metadata will enable you to tailor your data collection practices to conform to business needs and consent obtained. It will enable you to delete data where required. And it will enable you to efficiently reevaluate your data collection practices periodically to ensure that further retention or collection is required and, therefore, permitted.
  3. Protocols. A company’s internal processes should incorporate privacy by design. These protocols should encompass the entire data collection process: what is collected, where it is stored, personnel who have access, and the purposes and extent to which this access is granted. If an employee’s functions no longer require access to data, or require access only to a limited subset of data, the company’s protocols should reflect this.
  4. Constant vigilance. Companies are expected to have stringent security programs in place to protect against unauthorized data access. Company systems containing personal data should be auditing access activity at all times. This includes both internal access – employee behavior – and external attempts – hackers or espionage. The monitoring should be sufficient to detect incipient breaches. Failure to identify efforts to gain unauthorized access, or to report them can lead to mammoth fines.
  5. Yes, this is a bonus point. Recent trade industry surveys show that a third of all American companies have no designated individual in charge of privacy compliance. Privacy often lies in a nebulous “no-man’s land” between various departments: legal, information technology, operations or even human resources. This creates the obvious risk that privacy issues will fall through the cracks, which is an unacceptable risk under the GDPR regime. Fortunately, the solution is easy: Companies need ensure that privacy compliance falls within an individual’s mandate. Once the person is designated, companies need to make sure that he or she knows what to do, and ensure that he or she has a big enough “stick” (or institutional authority) to get it done.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Poyner Spruill LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Poyner Spruill LLP
Contact
more
less

Poyner Spruill LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.