European data protection law

European data protection law in production environments

The European data protection law refers to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Part of European companies’ requirements around data since May 25, 2018, it represents a comprehensive regulation that aims to protect the personal data of individuals within the European Union. 

Often dubbed as the strongest privacy and security law in the world, its approval set a series of requirements for companies dealing with personal data. As such, it’s one of the key regulations that must be taken into account in data production environments. 

Keep reading to find out the key aspects of the European data protection regulation and the measures companies can take to ensure they comply with it in a data production environment and beyond.

Key aspects of the European data protection law

The European data protection law establishes the rights of EU individuals around how their personal data is processed and transferred.  It’s important to notice that it applies to all companies and organizations that process personal data of individuals within the EU. This means that companies based outside the EU but handling EU citizens’ data need to comply with the GDPR.

In application since May 2018, it defines the following key aspects:

Rights of individuals as part of the digital age

The GDPR or European data protection regulation registers new citizen rights around the processing of their personal data. These include the following:

  • Right to be informed about the collection, processing and use of their personal data is being collected, processed, and used.
  • Right to access the personal data held by organizations and obtain information about how it is being processed.
  • Right to rectification of inaccurate or incomplete personal data.
  • Right to erasure (also known as the “right to be forgotten”) of their personal data under certain circumstances, such as when the data is no longer necessary or if they withdraw consent.
  • Right to restriction of processing of their personal data under specific conditions.
  • Right to data portability and transmission to another organization.
  • Right to object to the processing of their personal data based on legitimate interests or direct marketing purposes.
  • Right to withdraw consent to the processing of their personal data at any time.

Obligations of companies and organizations that process data

The European data protection law also establishes a series of obligations for companies that deal with personal data. Some of the most significant include:

  • Data transparency when it comes to how personal data is being processed. 
  • Organizations should only collect and process personal data on the basis of data minimization, that is, only data that is necessary for the stated purposes. Additionally, they should not retain personal data for longer than necessary.
  • Organizations are required to be proactive in implementing appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of personal data
  • Companies must ensure the lifecycle management of each person (or seed) data structure is enforced. This means companies are only allowed to keep data for a limited time (only as long as the commercial relationship lasts or when the relationship for which the person has given their consent ends). After that time, access to the data must be blocked and, after a blocking period, the data must be completely deleted. 
  • In the event of a personal data breach, organizations are obliged to notify the relevant supervisory authority. In certain circumstances, individuals affected by the breach may also need to be informed.
  • Organizations must conduct Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) for processing operations that are likely to result in a high risk to individuals' rights and freedoms. The aim is to assess and mitigate the potential impact on privacy before undertaking the processing.
  • Privacy by design must also be enforced. This principle requires companies to consider data protection and privacy from the early stages of system design.

Methods for guaranteeing compliance with the law

As we’ve mentioned above, the GDPR promotes the concept of privacy by design and default, which means that organizations should integrate data protection measures into their systems and processes from the outset. 

Additionally, it presents several options for ensuring organizations can access the value of data while complying with the European data protection law. Included here are all processes related to data anonymization and pseudonymisation.

Economic sanctions for rule breaching

Non-compliance with the GDPR can result in significant fines and penalties. In fact, the European data protection law foresees fines up to €20 million or 4% of the company's global annual turnover (whichever is higher) for the most severe violations.

Multimillion sanctions have already been enforced. For instance, a report by the European Commission revealed Google was fined 50 million euros for the lack of consent in its ads. 

The impact of European data protection law in data production environments

Compliance with the European data protection law has often generated doubts in organizations and companies. This is particularly true in scenarios such as data production environments and the software development sector, in which data management is especially complex.

As such, there are certain aspects that must be carefully considered in such contexts. 

For instance, the principle of data minimization means a careful consideration of the data collected must be ensured, so that only data that is essential for production processes is gathered.

Additionally, anonymization and pseudonymization efforts take center stage in this context. These techniques allow companies to mitigate privacy risks as well as to comply with the GDPR. Through anonymization, personal identifiers are removed or encrypted from data sets. Pseudonymization, on the other hand, involves replacing identifying information with pseudonyms, reducing the risk of directly associating data with individuals.

This is directly linked to further security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and monitoring, that must be implemented to both safeguard the data and comply with GDPR requirements.

Finally, all considerations regarding third-party data processing and data transference included in the GDPR must be complied with. This includes the requirement to put in place contracts and agreements with potential third-party data processors; and a careful attention to cross-border data transfers outside the EU, which are subject to GDPR restrictions. 

How to comply with European data protection regulation in data production environments 

The requirements we’ve listed throughout the article present a series of needed actions from companies working in data production environments. 

This is where tools like icaria GDPR come into play. This platform makes it easier for companies to comply with the GDPR and the rights it establishes. 

In order to do this, this tool takes an integral approach to GDPR data management, including the following actions:

  • Management of the blocking period and data deletion through a powerful search engine and identifier.
  • Coordination of each data seed and its life cycle, promoting actions such as the extraction, storage, dissociation, restoration, and deletion of data in the corresponding environment, among other operations.
  • Application of potential verification or restitution of data.
  • Anonymization and pseudoanonymization.
  • Potential for automation and planification of these operations.
  • The possibility of enabling secure access to data during the blocking period, so that companies may respond to potential legal or administrative requirements.

All in all, icaria GDPR represents a holistic solution for blocking and deleting personal data in production environments, facilitating data governance throughout the whole process in data structures. 

Looking to streamline your compliance efforts by automating processes while also ensuring ongoing monitoring, risk management, and documentation? At icaria technology, we’ve got the solution. Request a demo for icaria GDPR and experience firsthand how it can help you comply with the European data protection law facilitates these processes.