Computer NetworkThe General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into force on 25 May 2018, could have a big impact on any company in the world that deals with the personal data of EU citizens.

It has been nearly 20 years since the UK’s data protection laws were last updated, in the form of the Data Protection Act 1998. That legislation was intended to bring UK law into line with the EU’s Data Protection Directive, which was introduced in 1995.

Since then, our mobile phones have become miniature computers and we have witnessed the proliferation of internet devices, the birth of online retail and the growth of entirely new industries based on the use of our personal data.

With this in mind, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is intended to bring the data protection laws for EU member states into the 21st century. The GDPR can be broadly broken down into these three categories:

  • Return control of personal data to users.
  • Simplify the regulatory environment.
  • Appoint a data protection officer where data processing is carried out.

Data processing is a somewhat nebulous term – it might sound like data harvesting, but the reality is far different.

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