Prepare now for biggest change to data protection law for a generation
02 June 2017
The 12 steps to take to prepare for GDPR has been relaunched, with updated guidance and increased focus on the need to act now to be compliant for May 2018.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has told businesses there’s no time to delay in preparing for “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation”.
Speaking in a video addressing boardrooms, Ms Denham calls on businesses to see the commercial benefits of sound data protection, and act now to ensure they’re compliant by 25 May 2018:
“If your organisation can’t demonstrate that good data protection is a cornerstone of your business policy and practices, you’re leaving your organisation open to enforcement action that can damage both public reputation and bank balance. But there’s a carrot here as well as a stick: get data protection right, and you can see a real business benefit.”
DPA is starting point but there are new elements and significant enhancements under GDPR
Many of the GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act (DPA), so if you are complying properly with the current law then most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be the starting point to build from. However, there are new elements and significant enhancements, so you will have to do some things for the first time and some things differently.
It is important to use the 12 steps to take to prepare for GDPR and other Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) resources to work out the main differences between the current law and the GDPR. The ICO is producing new guidance and other tools to assist you, as well as contributing to guidance that the Article 29 Working Party is producing at the European level. These are all available via the ICO’s overview of the GDPR. The ICO is also working closely with trade associations and bodies representing the various sectors – you should also work closely with these bodies to share knowledge about implementation in your sector.
It is essential to plan your approach to GDPR compliance now and to gain ‘buy in’ from key people in your organisation. You may need, for example, to put new procedures in place to deal with the GDPR’s new transparency and individuals’ rights provisions. In a large or complex business this could have significant budgetary, IT, personnel, governance and communications implications.
The GDPR places greater emphasis on the documentation that data controllers must keep to demonstrate their accountability. Compliance with all the areas listed in this document will require organisations to review their approach to governance and how they manage data protection as a corporate issue. One aspect of this might be to review the contracts and other arrangements you have in place when sharing data with other organisations.
Some parts of the GDPR will have more of an impact on some organisations than on others (for example, the provisions relating to profiling or children’s data), so it would be useful to map out which parts of the GDPR will have the greatest impact on your business model and give those areas due prominence in your planning process.
Non-compliance carries the risk of reputational and financial damage to businesses. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.