Irish Companies “Must Prepare Now” for GDPR, Urges Data Commissioner in Newly Released Guidance

Data Protection Commissioner urgers Irish DPO's to prepare for GDPR

Irish companies have been urged by the ODPC to “immediately start preparing” for the forthcoming EU GDPR, in a newly-issued guidance document aimed at helping organisations understand and achieve their path to compliance by the due date of 25th May 2018.

Distilling the 99 GDPR articles into 10 key steps for companies to follow, the guidance document – the first in a series to be released during the next 18 months – takes as its theme the need for companies to act with the utmost urgency, and make maximum use of the preparation window in the run up to May-2018 – starting right away.

Highlighting the newly “robust powers” to fine companies up to €20,000,000 or 4% of global turnover, the guidance states “the sooner you begin to prepare for the GDPR, the more cost-effective it will be for your organisation”.

The guidance helps to explain some of the far-reaching concepts of GDPR, which differ significantly in scope and authority from the current Data Protection Directive. It explains how the concept of “accountability” poses difficult questions at every level of the data management operation inside a business, such as “why are you holding data?”, “how did you obtain it?” and “how secure is it, in terms of encryption?”

The guidance also reflects on the crucial need to implement DPIA (Data Privacy Impact Assessments), as a key strategy in ensuring companies comply with the GDPR’s requirement to embed “privacy by design” as a default approach for all data handling.

The ODPC also notes that fines will be levied in case companies fail to notify the authorities of a data breach within the statutory limit of 72 hours.

Commenting on this particular question of fines, the ODPC makes clear the double risk : “It is worth noting that a failure to report a breach when required to do so could result in a fine, as well as a fine for the breach itself”.

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