The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) defines six crucial data protection principles that outline many of its requirements.
If you wish to understand how to achieve compliance, it’s best to familiarize yourself with these principles, especially if you’re handling a small organization that lacks the resources to hire data protection specialists. Below, we’ll examine these six principles in more detail.
Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency
The first principle is simple enough: organizations must ensure that their data collection practices are in accordance with the law and transparent with their data subjects.
Limitation of Purpose
Organizations should only gather personal data if there’s a specific purpose for it, clearly express what that purpose is, and only gather data for a duration that’s necessary for the completion of that purpose.
However, processing that’s done for archiving purposes of public interest or for scientific, historical, or statistical goals is afforded more leeway.
Minimization of Data
Organizations should only process the amount of personal data that they need to complete their processing objectives; doing so can be beneficial in two ways.
First, should a data breach occur, an unauthorized individual will only get to access a limited amount of data. Second, minimizing the amount of data you handle makes it easier to ensure the data is accurate and up to date.
Maintaining the accuracy of personal data is crucial for data protection. The GDPR stipulates that “every reasonable step must be taken” to delete or correct data that is inaccurate or incomplete. Private persons have the right to request that inaccurate or incomplete data be deleted or corrected within 30 days.
In line with this, organizations also need to dispose of personal data when they no longer need it.
How do you determine when information is no longer needed? Most organizations consider storing data for as long as the individual who owns that data has deemed a customer. This begs the question: For what duration after the completion of a purchase or transaction can an individual be deemed a customer?
There is no definite answer to this, as it varies depending on which industries and the purpose for which that data is collected. If you’re wondering how long you should store your customer’s personal data, you should consider consulting a legal professional or a data privacy specialist.
Integrity and Confidentiality
This principle revolves around, and gives importance to, data security. According to the GDPR, “personal data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organizational measures.”
The GDPR is quite vague regarding which particular course of action organizations must take. This is due to technological and organizational best practices constantly changing and developing. At the moment, organizations are required to encrypt and/or anonymize personal data as much as possible; however, they may also consider other suitable options they deem necessary.
The Last Principle
The GDPR factors in an additional principle, accountability, which serves as an encompassing set of obligations associated with the other six.
Through accountability, organizations prove that they possess the necessary documentation to meet their compliance requirements.
This is normally achieved by combining sets of technical measures and documentation like a controller–processor contracts, relevant policies and procedures, privacy notices, staff training records, security monitoring, and event logging records.
Your organization should consider appointing a DPO (data protection officer) or a data protection specialist to ensure compliance with what the GDPR required by law.
You can also bolster your data security initiatives by attaining certification from recognized schemes such as ISO 27001 and yearly compliance validation with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).