GDPR: Basic Concepts

You are reading our guide to GDPR basic concepts, written just for you. It might help to review the principles of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation.

What is GDPR?

As of 24th May 2016 the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force.

The rules provided for will be applied from 25th may 2018 and will involve associations, citizens, firms, freelancers and public entities.

The aim is to give clearer and more transparent rules about data processing, data violation and data intercharge outside the European Community.

The new legislation amends certain definitions about privacy and data processing, so we suggest you read our guide to basic concepts concerning GDPR.


Personal Data, Data Processing And Consent Of The Data Subject

First things first: you need to know that GDPR concerns personal data, which is «any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person».

The data could be ‘processed’, but what does ‘data processing’ mean? It means «any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction».

In compliance with the new regulation, a real, unambiguous and explicit consensus is mandatory for Data Processing. In accordance with the GDPR, consent of the data subject means «any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her».


Profiling, Controller And Processor

Informing the data subject in a clearer and more transparent manner is an obligation, that affects web marketing activities such as Profiling. In accordance with the GDPR, profiling means «any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyse or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements».

The GDPR guarantees data subject the right to oppose to profiling activities, furthermore, the law recognises the right to erasure (‘right to be forgotten’), indeed, the «data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay and the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay».

Previously we talked about the controller, but who is this person? The controller is «the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by Union or Member State law, the controller or the specific criteria for its nomination may be provided for by Union or Member State law».

In support of the controller the firm can appoint a processor, which is «a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller».