The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.
Superseding the Data Protection Directive, the regulation contains provisions and requirements pertaining to the processing of personally identifiable information of data subjects inside the European Union. Business processes that handle personal data must be built with privacy by design and by default, meaning that the system must be designed to adhere to principles of data protection with the highest level of safeguards from the start, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately. Personal data may not be processed unless it is done under a lawful basis specified by the regulation, or the data controller or processor has received explicit, opt-in consent from the data’s owner—which may be withdrawn at any time.
A processor of personal data must disclose what data is being collected and how, why it is being processed, how long it is being retained, and if it is being shared with any other parties. Users have the right to request a portable copy of the data collected by a processor in a common format, and the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances. Public authorities, and businesses whose core activities center around regular or systematic processing of personal data, are required to have a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who is responsible for managing compliance with the GDPR. Businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy.
It was adopted on 14 April 2016, and after a two-year transition period, becomes enforceable on 25 May 2018. The GDPR replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Because the GDPR is a regulation, not a directive, it does not require national governments to pass any enabling legislation and is directly binding and applicable.