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European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) went into effect. The GDPR is a comprehensive set of regulations that have set a new benchmark for data management, in an attempt to harmonize data protection across Europe. It will revolutionize how organizations handle personal information and will require that organizations give individuals more control over what information is collected and how that information is used. Policies and procedures within the organization will need to be updated to ensure that individuals can access and alter their personal data, as well as review and change how that data is processed. The European Union (“EU”) hoped that the GDPR would increase the transparency between those who provide personal information and those who use that information.

Additionally, the GDPR creates new obligations for organizations regarding the protection of any data collected. Organizations will need to update their security programs and internal policies to ensure that personal data is handled in such a manner to mitigate risk and prevent data breaches. In addition, employee training modules will need to be updated to reflect changed procedures and security measures.

The GDPR is the most significant law to be passed regarding data privacy. Its scope is extremely broad and applies to organizations within the EU, as well as those located outside the EU. The GDPR imposes a significant burden on organizations and outlines substantial fines for those in violation of its provisions. Nevertheless, organizations can use the GDPR as an opportunity to reevaluate their data management systems and to put in place measures that enhance business processes, strengthen data security, and better protect organizations from damaging breaches and cyberattacks.