The clock is ticking on getting ready to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). EU regulators will start enforcing it on May 25, 2018.
GDPR is less than a year away, and it’s quite a challenge to get ready for. Becoming compliant is not something that can be achieved overnight, or in a week, or in a month, or even in quarter. A lot of privacy and security controls must be put into place or adapted to satisfy new EU standards and rights.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR strengthens privacy protections in the EU and includes a number of additional rights and responsibilities.
I have produced a new Privacy Shield training course that provides a short introduction to the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework. Privacy Shield is an arrangement reached between the EU and US for companies to transfer data about EU citizens to the US. Privacy Shield replaces the Safe Harbor Arrangement, which was invalidated in 2015 in the case of Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner.
Last year, the death of the US-EU Safe Harbor Arrangement sent waves of shock and despair to the approximately 4500 companies that used this mechanism to transfer personal data from the US to the EU. But a new day has dawned.
I created some new training programs last year, and here are some of the highlights:
The Ransomware Attack (~5 mins)
This short program (~5 minutes) consists of an interactive cartoon vignette about malware. The program is highly interactive, and trainees engage with a scenario involving ransomware. Although this program involves ransomware, the lessons it teaches apply broadly to all malware. The program focuses on how to avoid having malware installed on one’s computer and what to do (and not to do) if this ever happens.
The Life Cycle of Personal Data (~ 15 mins)
This privacy awareness training course (~ 15 minutes) is a highly-interactive overview of privacy responsibilities and protections regarding the collection, use, and sharing of personal data. The course has 8 quiz questions. The course tracks the life cycle of personal data, starting from when it is collected or created. The course concludes with a discussion of data retention and destruction.
Last week, the EU issued the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a long-awaited comprehensive privacy regulation that will govern all 28 EU member countries. Clocking in at more than 200 pages, this is quite a document to digest. According to the European Commission press release: “The regulation will establish one single set of rules which will make it simpler and cheaper for companies to do business in the EU.”
The GDPR has been many years in the making, and it will have an enormous impact on the transfer of data between the US and EU, especially in light of the invalidation of the Safe Harbor Arrangement earlier this year. It will has substantial implications for any global company doing business in the EU. The GDPR is anticipated to go into effect in 2017.
Here are some of the implications I see emerging from the GDPR as well as some questions for the future:
1. Penalties and Enforcement
Under Article 79, violations of certain provisions will carry a penalty of “up to 2% of total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year.” Violations of other provisions will carry a penalty of “up to 4% of total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year.” The 4% penalty applies to “basic principles for processing, including conditionals for consent,” as well as “data subjects’ rights” and “transfers of personal data to a recipient in a third country or an international organisation.”
These are huge penalties. Such penalties will definitely be a wake-up call for top management at companies to pay more attention to privacy and to provide more resources to the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO). Now we can finally imagine the CEO at a meeting, with her secretary rushing over to her and whispering in her ear that the CPO is calling. The CEO will stand up immediately and say: “Excuse me, but I must take this call. It’s my CPO calling!”
To date, EU enforcement of its privacy laws has been spotty and anemic, so much so that many characterize it as barely existent. Will the new GDPR change enforcement? With such huge fines, the payoff for enforcement will be enormous. We could see a new enforcement culture emerge, with more robust and consistent enforcement. If privacy isn’t much of a priority of upper management at some global companies, it will be soon.