More personal information is kept about individuals than ever before. And as we do more and more of our daily transactions online – shopping, downloading music and films, banking, or managing things like our tax or pensions – vast amounts of our personal data is captured, stored and processed. We are also spending more and more time using digital media to communicate and socialise – resulting in a lot of our personal data being publicly available online.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation
On the 25th of May 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the UK Data Protection Act. The GDPR aims to ensure that any organisation that processes personal data does so responsibly. It sets out clear legal responsibilities for organisations that gather, store and use personal data and clarifies the rights of individuals with regards to the data that’s held about them.
Processing personal data: A lawful basis
Under the GDPR, organisations must have a lawful basis for processing personal data. There are six of these and at least one must apply in each case.
- Consent: where the individual has given clear consent for you to process their personal data for a specific purpose
- Contract: where the processing is necessary for a contract you have with the individual
- Legal obligation: where it’s necessary for you to comply with the law
- Vital interests: where it’s necessary to protect someone’s life
- Public task: where the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and
- Legitimate interests: where the processing is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party.
“Essentially, what we’re talking about here is a human right, it’s come from the same part of the European Union that publishes human rights law. Essentially, what they’re trying to promote is the idea that all of us, as individuals, should have rights and have the ability to seek protection in the way that information about us is processed.”
James Mullock, Osborne Clarke LLP
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