Data Protection Law Frequently Asked Questions

What is personal data?

According to the European Commission, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. This could include anything from a name, a photo, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information or a computer’s IP address.”

What are my data protection responsibilities as an employer?

Employers must ensure that sensitive personal data about their employees is collected with the appropriate consent, processed securely, stored safely and kept only as long is necessary. Employers should have a data protection policy in place including a data protection notice, a defined policy on retention periods for all items of personal data and provide appropriate staff training in data protection.

Does my company need to comply with GDPR?

No-matter the size of your company or the sector it is in, if your company holds the personal data of any EU citizens, including those of employees, it will have to adhere to the data protection rules laid out by the GDPR. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you will have a responsibility to process personal data in a secure, proper and transparent manner in order to maintain the privacy and safety of the data subjects you serve.

When does GDPR come into force?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a mutually agreed European regulation designed to protect the rights of EU citizens in relation to their personal data and came into force on 25 May 2018.

What constitutes a personal data breach under GDPR?

A personal data breach can be broadly defined as an incident that has affected the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal data.

This includes breaches that are the result of both accidental and deliberate causes. Under the GDPR an organisation must report a personal data breach to the relevant supervisory authority with the first 72 hours of discovery.

What are the consequences of failing to report a personal data breach?

Failure to report and record significant data breaches will result in hefty fines under GDPR. In the most serious of cases, organisations can be fined up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is higher) if they are found to be in breach of personal data protection. Severe financial and reputational damages could ensue.

What is Ireland’s Supervisory Authority for GDPR?

In Ireland, the Data Protection Commissioner is responsible for upholding the rights of individuals in relation to the Acts and Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Useful information can be found at dataprotection.ie and there is also a GDPR specific website GDPRandYou.ie to help individuals and organisations to be aware of their rights and responsibilities come 25 May 2018.

What should I do next?

If you would like more information or would like to see one of our Solicitors specialising in Data Protection Law, please get in touch to make an appointment.

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    John Hannaford, Director

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    Paddy Kavanagh, Managing Director

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DUBLIN OFFICE

Clarke Jeffers Solicitors
The Mews, Fitzwilliam Hall
Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1567 5938

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Clarke Jeffers Solicitors
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Carlow
Ireland

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