Understanding the Principles of the GDPR


The GDPR sets forth seven fundamental principles that direct how data controllers and processors manage personal data. While the GDPR is commonly associated with the “right to be forgotten,” Article 5 of the regulation outlines essential data protection principles. These principles guide businesses in establishing data protection practices and demonstrating compliance. It has been six years following the GDPR’s implementation and the seven principles regarding the lawful handline of data have been instrumental in molding the data protection protocols of companies operating within the EU. Lawful handling encompasses the acquisition, arrangement, configuration, preservation, modification, limitation, deletion, or disposal of personal data.

Let us look at the seven principles:

  • Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
    • Lawfulness: When managing personal data, a valid reason must exist. This may encompass user consent contractual obligations, legal mandates, safeguarding vital interests, fulfilling public tasks, or pursuing legitimate interests.
    • Fairness: Organizations must be transparent regarding data collection and usage. Users should not be caught off guard by how their data is utilized, and data controllers should refrain from concealing information.
    • Transparency: Maintain clarity, transparency, and integrity with individuals regarding your identity, the reasons behind their data processing, and the methods employed.
  • Purpose limitation: Data Collection should be limited to well-defines, clear, and lawful objectives. These objectives need to be precisely determined, conveyed to the data subjects, and adhered to diligently. Should there be a change in purpose, acquiring consent is necessary unless legally mandated otherwise.
  • Data minimization: When gathering email subscribers, request only the essential information needed for newsletters. Collect the minimum data necessary to achieve your goals.
  • Accuracy: Maintain the accuracy of collected data by implementing checks and balances to rectify any inaccuracies or incomplete information.
  • Storage limitation: Retain personal data solely for the duration required to meet the identified objectives. Conduct periodic assessments and expunge data that is redundant.
  • Integrity and confidentiality: Implement protective measures to shield personal data from unsanctioned access, changes, or exposure, thereby ensuring the preservation of data integrity and privacy.
  • Accountability: Organizations bear responsibility for adhering to GDPR regulations. They must keep records of processing activities, perform data protection impact assessments, and exhibit compliance with data protection authorities.

Adhering to GDPR is essential for safeguarding individual rights and preventing substantial penalties. Any US company that operates globally and processes data of EU citizens must adhere to GDPR. By doing so, US companies can gain the confidence of consumers who are becoming more vigilant about their privacy. The impact of GDPR on future US data protection legislation could foster a more cohesive approach to privacy and data security.

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