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Understanding General Data Protection Regulation

As carriers and VoIP operators, the EU market is a lucrative one to operate in. However, most non-EU operators stray away from this market owing to the various regulations they would have to comply with.

Rules and regulations are in place to protect the users and by extension, even the operators and service providers. GDPR is one such regulation that governs how personal information about users get collected, processed and stored.

We will learn more about this regulation and see how one can comply with it.

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation that sets legal guidelines for collecting, processing and storing personal information from individuals residing within and outside the EU.

In theory, any firm that has customers/audience in the EU have to comply with the GDPR.

GDPR was approved by the EU in April 2016 and went into force in May 2018. It replaced the earlier EU Data Protection Directive of 1995 as lawmakers deemed the need for stricter regulation for data protection and privacy.

The enforcement of GDPR is quite strict to ensure businesses comply and don't indulge in any malpractices related to collected user data. Heavy fines and other legal punishments are imposed on violators.

Primary GDPR Compliance

GDPR ensures no business misleads the users by the use of vague or confusing language or misuse of “fine print” to collect data deemed in excess of what's necessary for any given function/task.

Thus, businesses looking to comply with GDPR have to ensure:

Ensure website visitors/users explicitly consent to information-gathering initiatives run by the business. Ensure all website visitors and users are informed about their data collection. Ensure visitors have an easy option to opt-out of the data collection process. Ensure all users/visitors whose information you’ve collected are informed if a data breach occurs and their data gets compromised. Ensure the website/platform are assessed for data security as mandated by the regulation. Ensure that the business has a dedicated Data Protection Officer (DPO)

The business also needs to ensure that any visitor has access to the DPO via different communication channels in case they wish to exercise their EU Data Rights.

Penalties for Non-compliance

What makes GDPR so unique and effective is how strictly it enforces the regulations and punishes any violators. The penalties vary based on a multitude of factors which are:

  1. The severity of the data breach
  2. Duration of the data breach
  3. Number of individuals affected
  4. Assessed degree of damage caused by the data breach
  5. The severity of the breach of regulation
  6. The severity of misuse of collected data
  7. The severity of excess data collection

Based on the above parameters, heavy penalties are imposed upon any business found to be in violation of GDPR.

Severe violations - Up to €24 Million or 4% of Annual Global Turnover (whichever is higher)

Less severe violations - Up to €10 Million or 2% of Annual Global Turnover (whichever is higher)

Benefits of Implementing GDPR

We first recommend running a cost-benefit analysis for implementing GDPR for your business. In case you have a good proportion of your customer base in Europe, then it's advisable and beneficial for you to use GDPR.

While avoiding the hefty fines subjected to any violations is in itself a big benefit, there are other benefits to implementing GDPR too.

The biggest one is perhaps how it positively affects your brand perception. Any business that implements GDPR is safer and more responsible by the customers.

This eases the process of building trust with your existing and potential customers. Moreover, implementing GDPR indirectly aligns your business with customer interests. We already know how beneficial it's to be customer-centric!

In case you wish to learn more about GDPR you can do it here.