The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a stringent privacy and data protection rule. However, only a few enterprises can comply with its laws.
These data protection laws regulate nations under the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area. The EU enforced the Framework of GDPR in various countries with data privacy laws globally.
Non-compliance with these laws can have disastrous consequences on businesses. Organizations that fail to comply with the enforced GDPR rules must pay hefty fines. These fines can be levied up to 20 million euros, or approximately up to 4 % of their total turnover of the previous fiscal year worldwide, whichever is higher for severe fines. For less severe fines, enterprises might be penalized for fines of approximately 10 million euros or up to 2% of its complete global turnover of the last fiscal year, whichever is higher.
Moreover, other than fines, the enterprise will harm its brand image for non-compliance with the data protection laws. Organizations that do not want to pay hefty fines or harm their brand image must comply with the set GDPR.
Here is a checklist that compliance officers can consider to strengthen their organization’s capabilities to stay GDPR compliant.
Maintain Transparency About the Purpose Behind Gathering Data
The data processor needs to be clear about the motives behind gathering the user data. Organizations that keep customers in the dark about how and where the data will be stored, managed, or utilized can lead to huge non-compliance fines. Data processors must display the acknowledgments of data collection at every touch point where they gather data before collecting it.
Following are a few generic website touch points where the organization can display the data collection notifications:
All the forms on the website should inform the user how the data will be collected and utilized. Businesses cannot use difficult phases or jargon that might confuse the customer. Compliance officers must ensure the messaging is short, crisp, and concise. GDPR restricts organizations from keeping pre-ticked consent boxes. According to the GDPR rules, users must consent to gather their data.
Cookie Collection Pop-Ups
Moreover, organizations also need to store and document the cookie consent to avoid troubles in the future. Organizations should not restrict access to their website if the user does not provide support. Users also need to have a simplified way to withdraw their cookie-use consent.
Validate the Users’ Age that offers Consent to Data Processing Activities
The general data protection regulation allows personal data processing of users more than 16 years of age. Organizations that want to lawfully gather personal data of people under 16 need consent from a person with parental responsibility for the child. Suppose the website will have visitors below 16 years in the European region. Such businesses must implement an age verification process to validate the users’ age before gathering data. If companies need to process the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) of underaged users, enterprises need to have a separate consent process if necessary.
Integrate Double Opt-in for All New Email Signups
Enterprises need a double opt-in process for all fresh email signups to ensure that all the subscribers have consented to the organization’s email list. Organizations that embrace a double opt-in strategy will give the user confirmation of their consent twice. In this process, the user gives the first consent once they fill out the signup form, and the second time they will give consent once the user clicks on the confirmation link in the email, which the system sends to their inbox immediately after filling it up. However, GDPR compliance does not force organizations to establish a double opt-in process as a mandate, but industry veterans highly recommend it to avoid fines. Embracing double opt-in processes helps to establish that the organization is complying with the data protection standard set by the regulatory bodies.
Only the stakeholders, top management, or data protection officers are not responsible for compliance. Enterprises should take a holistic approach to ensure adherence to the GDPR rules by onboarding all employees on board. Organizations must create awareness about data privacy to incorporate a sense of responsibility. Businesses should ensure that all the third-party partners and vendors are GDPR-compliant. If the business partners are not compliant with GDPR, the organization will not be compliant either. It is essential to evaluate the compliance adherence of business partners or change them if they are not compliant.
These are the top five strategies that data protection or compliance officers can consider for the fifth anniversary of GDPR to improve data protection law adherence.
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