The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection regulation that came into effect on May 25, 2018, in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). GDPR was designed to strengthen and unify data protection rules and rights for individuals within the EU and EEA, as well as to address the export of personal data outside these regions.

Key aspects of GDPR include:

  1. Data Subject Rights: GDPR grants individuals several rights concerning their personal data, including the right to access, rectify, erase, or restrict the processing of their data. It also includes the right to data portability.
  2. Data Protection Officers (DPOs): Certain organizations are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer responsible for ensuring GDPR compliance.
  3. Consent: Organizations must obtain clear and explicit consent from individuals before processing their personal data. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
  4. Data Breach Notification: GDPR mandates the notification of data breaches to relevant authorities and affected individuals within specific time frames.
  5. Privacy by Design and Default: Organizations are required to implement data protection measures by design and by default when developing new products, services, or systems that involve processing personal data.
  6. Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs): Organizations must conduct DPIAs for data processing activities that are likely to result in high risks to individuals’ privacy.
  7. Data Transfers: GDPR places restrictions on the transfer of personal data outside the EU/EEA to countries that do not provide an adequate level of data protection.
  8. Accountability and Governance: Organizations are expected to demonstrate compliance with GDPR through records of data processing activities, policies, and documentation.
  9. Fines and Penalties: GDPR introduces significant fines for non-compliance, with penalties of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual revenue, whichever is higher.
  10. One-Stop-Shop: For organizations that operate in multiple EU/EEA countries, the regulation introduces the concept of a “one-stop-shop” mechanism, where they deal with a single lead supervisory authority.
GDPR has had a global impact, as many organizations worldwide must comply with its requirements if they process the personal data of EU/EEA residents. It has fundamentally changed the way organizations handle personal data, placing a strong emphasis on transparency, accountability, and the protection of individuals’ privacy rights.
Compliance with GDPR is a complex and ongoing process, requiring organizations to assess their data processing activities, implement necessary safeguards, and stay informed about updates to the regulation. It has also influenced the development of data protection laws and regulations in other parts of the world.