A new European Union-wide framework known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force across the EU on 25 May 2018.The directive applies to the processing of personal data by controllers and processors in the EU, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not. The GDPR also applies to the processing of personal data of individuals in the EU by a controller or processor established outside the EU, where those processing activities relate to offering goods or services to EU citizens or the monitoring of their behaviour.
Non-EU organisations processing the personal data of EU citizens must appoint a representative located in the EU.
An accompanying Directive establishes data protection standards in the area of criminal offences and penalties. This is known as the law enforcement Directive.
The GDPR and the law enforcement Directive provide for significant reforms to current data protection rules. They provide for higher standards of data protection for individuals and impose increased obligations on organisations that process personal data. They also increase the range of possible sanctions for infringements of these rules.
Penalties apply to both controllers and processors found to be in breach of the GDPR. There are different penalties, depending on the importance of the breach.
For the most serious infringements (for example, not having sufficient customer consent to process data or violating the core of privacy by design concepts) organisations can be fined up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater.
Member states may introduce further fines legislation, which will be enforceable within that state only.
Under the GDPR, organisations in breach of the Regulation can be fined up to 2% of their annual global turnover or €10 million, whichever is greater, for lesser breaches. Some examples of lesser breaches include: not having records in order, not notifying the supervisory authority and data subject about a breach or not conducting impact assessment.
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