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European Data Protection Law Gives Consumers Control

The GDPR will require organisations to make the personal privacy rights of consumers a top priority.

The GDPR will require organisations to make the personal privacy rights of consumers a top priority.

According to the UK privacy watchdog the GDPR, which will be enforceable by law from May 2018, will give people stronger rights to be informed about how their personal information is used.

UK information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said the GDPR will bring a “more 21st century approach” to how personal data is processed and warned organisations they “should seize the opportunity to set out a culture of data confidence in the UK”.

She told the ICO’s annual Data Protection Practitioners Conference in Manchester: “The GDPR provides more protections for consumers and more privacy obligations for organisations. It aligns with people’s expectations for strong safeguards, and recognises the advance of digital services in the public and private sector.”

While the GDPR gives specific obligations for organisations, Denham emphasised that the real change for organisations will be understanding the new rights for consumers.

She added: “I want to see comprehensive data programs as the norm, organisations better protecting the data of citizens and consumers, and a change of culture that makes broader and deeper data protection accountability a focus for organisations across the UK.”

The ICO has the power to impose monetary penalties of up to £500,000, but the GDPR provides fines for up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover – whichever number is larger.

Strengthened rules around consent will give consumers a choice and ongoing control over how organisations use their data. The GDPR will also introduce a duty for all organisations to report serious data breaches to the regulator and in some cases, to the individuals affected.

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