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As a business owner, you must understand how UK GDPR ensures personal data is dealt with in the right ways, and how your business can comply with UK GDPR. When we refer to personal data in terms of data protection and handling data correctly, we mean any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person - the ‘data subject’. 

An identifiable natural person is an individual who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier. The terms are very broad such as; a name, identification number, location data, online identifier or factors relating to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.

Handling personal data correctly, including compliance with the UKGDPR and having data security policy, data protection policy, data retention policy, privacy policy and other necessary documents and procedures within the business is important because it gives people control over how their personal data is used. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has proven to hand out harsh fines for violations of data privacy and security standards. 

This article will detail how personal data is handled through the UK GDPR privacy and security law, information about data protection policies, UK GDPR compliance rules and the purpose of UK GDPR. 

What is UK GDPR?

EU General Data Protection Regulation, or EU GDPR, was a legal framework that set the guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who lived in the European Union. It is a data privacy and security law, imposing obligations on organisations, if they target or collect data related to people in the EU. Breaches of these privacy and data standards could result in large fines. Whilst the UK has left the UK, GDPR rules remain in place. We will go into this in more detail later in the article.

GDPR compliance can be overwhelming for businesses, as this regulation is broad-ranging. 

The right to privacy was introduced as part of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. This states: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. The EU passed the European Data Protection Directive in 1995, and this established minimum data privacy and security standards, upon which each EU member state could base its own law. 

The internet was already forming at this point, and the EU was told by Europe’s data protection authority in 2011 that it needed “a comprehensive approach on personal data protection” and they started working to update the 1995 directive.

The EU GDPR was introduced in 2016, and as of 25th May 2018, it became a requirement that all organisations had to comply. 

What this means for businesses, is that the ‘controllers’ - responsible for how and why personal data is processed - and ‘processors’ of data - responsible for handling the data - need to follow GDPR, now UK GDPR. The UK GDPR has a number of rules and legal terms regarding personal data, data protection, data subject, data controller and data processor.

These rules and requirements regarding privacy and data protection include: requiring the consent of subjects for data processing if the lawful basis of consent is the most appropriate, considering if any personal data collected should be anonymous to protect privacy, providing data breach notifications to the ICO and data subjects where required, safely handling the transfer of data across borders and requiring some companies to appoint a data protection officer who will make sure the company is complying with UK GDPR. 

These standards set by UK GDPR ensure companies handle personal data correctly. The process of handling data correctly involves: 

  • Mapping company’s personal data, determining the type of personal data in question, who can access it and what it is for
  • Assessing which personal data is important to the operations of your business and being disciplined by removing any data not being used
  • Implementing security measures to reduce the likelihood of data breaches. This allows businesses to safeguard the processing and movement of citizens’ personal data

The aim of data handling is to ensure the integrity of data and maintain the security and protection of confidential data. 

This is a complex and document-heavy area, so please contact LawBite to make sure we advise you fully on all the current UK GDPR requirements. 

GDPR and Brexit

The UK has already deemed the EU’s data protection as adequate, so data will be able to flow between the EU and UK. Currently, EU GDPR has been brought into UK law as the ‘UK GDPR’ and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement details that the UK and EU will continue to cooperate on digital trade in the future.

There are two adequacy decisions by the EU in relation to the UK on privacy which means that the personal data may continue to flow freely between UK and EU without the need of additional safeguards, provided that other elements of compliance are in place. 

FAQs about personal data

UK GDPR may bring up queries regarding your business, and how it could be affected by changing data protection and security laws. We have assessed the most frequent questions to compile an FAQs section, aiming to help you understand further who UK GDPR applies to and what data protection policy is.

Who does UK GDPR apply to?

UK GDPR applies to all ‘controllers’ - those that determine the purpose and means of processing personal data - and processors - those that handle and process personal data on behalf of the controller. Processors are required to maintain records of personal data and processing activities and will have legal liability if they are responsible for a breach. Controllers, however, have obligations to ensure their contracts with processors comply with UK GDPR.

How to comply with UK GDPR?

Under the GDPR terms, organisations have to ensure that personal data is gathered legally, protected from misuse and exploitation and respect the rights of the owners of that data. 

Data controllers must demonstrate their compliance with UK GDPR, and they can do this in various ways. These include: designating data protection responsibilities to their team; maintaining detailed documentation of the data they’re collecting, how it’s used, where it’s stored, which employee is responsible for it, etc.; training staff and implementing technical and organisational security measures; having Data Processing Agreements in place with third parties they contract to process data for them; appointing a data protection officer and other documents and procedures depending on how your business handles personal data. 

What is UK GDPR in business?

UK GDPR has rules for the collection and processing of personal information. It affects how businesses in the UK collect, store and use customer data. Businesses that are based in the UK or whose business is aimed at individuals based in the UK, whether in personal or professional capacity, have to ensure they are UK GDPR compliant and implement data protection procedures in the workplace. 

What is the purpose of UK GDPR?

UK GDPR is designed to give UK-based individuals more control over their personal data, by providing a set of data protection laws. The purpose of this is to allow UK based individuals to understand how their personal data is used, protecting their privacy and security. 

Does UK GDPR apply to company data?

Yes, UK GDPR applies to company data if there is an element of personal data.

What is a Data Protection Policy?

A Data Protection Policy is a policy that serves as the core of an organisation’s UK GDPR compliance practices. It explains UK GDPR requirements to employees, as well as the organisation’s commitment to complying with UK GDPR and how UK GDPR relates to the business. A typical business would need to have a number of documents to help its compliance with UK GDPR – these often include Privacy Policies or Notices, Cookie Policy, Data Protection Policy, Data Retention Policy, IT Security Policy, Agreements with third parties, Data Protection Impact Assessments, consent language, Data Breach (or Data Incident) Policy, as well as other documents, procedures and training for staff. 

Get legal assistance from LawBite 

We understand that UK GDPR compliance can seem overwhelming – with all those new rules and ongoing processes to comply with. Every business is unique so a one-size approach doesn’t work for everybody. We'll work with you speedily and affordably to understand what your business needs and agree on a pathway to compliance.

Our lawyers can provide excellent legal advice for everything related to UK GDPR and handling data correctly. We'll connect you to top-flight lawyers on our platform who can give expert advice regarding the correct handling of data and how this can be applied to your business, as well as how to comply with UK GDPR.

We use online tools and advanced technology to give your business the legal advice you require, faster and cheaper. If you were looking to understand how companies should handle personal data correctly, we hope this blog has helped you. To find out more book for a free 15-minute consultation or call us on 020 3808 8314.

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In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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