Commercial Litigation and Disputes – Do You Process Personal Data?

The European Commission intends to strengthen the data protection laws that protect individuals within the EU.

Their objectives:

  • To give EU citizens back the control of their personal data
  • To unify the regulation within the EU (so that the regulatory environment is simpler for international businesses)

You need to know about this if your business controls the personal data for EU residents, whether you are based inside or outside the EU.

Personal data is any information about an individual’s private, professional or public life, including their name, photo, email address, bank details, social media updates, medical information, and even the IP address of their computer.

There are exceptions for data processed for employees and for the purpose of national security.

Key dates

The EU General Data Protection Regulation was agreed on 17 December 2015, to replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive.

Although anything could change between now and then, the Revised Data Protection Framework is expected to come into force in Spring 2018, with a two-year transition period starting in Spring 2016.

How it impacts you

If you are a public authority or a company processing more than 5,000 data subjects within 12 months, you will have to appoint a data protection officer. This person should be proficient at managing IT processes, data security, cyber-attacks, and other critical business continuity issues around the holding and processing of personal data.

They will be the responsibility of the Regulator rather than your Board of Directors. They are like a ‘mini-regulator’ who is independent of your organisation, so they will need to create their own support team and will be responsible for their own continuing professional development.

Your data controller must be able to prove that recipients have opted in.

This means you must allow people to give explicit permission for you to collect and use their data – that means two ‘opt in’ tick boxes – as well as the ongoing option to unsubscribe.

You will have to advise your customers about how long you keep their personal data, and provide them with contact details for your data controller and data protection officer.

The penalty for non-compliance is still being decided, but will be severe – possibly €100m plus up to 5% of worldwide turnover.

For more information, please call us on 020 7113 4003 or email and we will be happy to help. The initial telephone consultation is free.


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