Now that technology is deeply interwoven into people’s lives, governments want to regulate how online businesses use and process data they get from users. In particular, governments in the US and Europe are striving to protect personal data that businesses and organizations request from individuals.

If you want to start a business or already own one, you need to make sure that your online platform is GDPR compliant (the General Data Protection Regulation). The General Data Protection Regulation is strict and requires that you get consent to collect any information from EU residents who visit your online store, news portal, or small personal blog.

What is EU GDPR?

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation replaced the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC on May 25, 2018. The new regulation harmonizes privacy laws in the European Union and aims to protect EU residents’ personal information. The regulation reshapes the way organizations approach data privacy and guides them to build GDPR-compliant software. GDPR expands on previous European Union data laws.

Source: public domain
Source: public domain

The definition of personal data was already quite broad in the EU and has become even broader under GDPR. Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person counts as personal information. Data that is controlled under the GDPR not only includes names and identification numbers but also emails, location data, online identifiers, photos, videos, physical addresses, IP addresses, MAC addresses, and cookies.

What does GDPR compliance actually mean for you and your online business?

You need to be careful which information you collect from your users and be clear about why you need it in the first place.

Checklists for GDPR compliance:

  • what information do I really need?
  • why am I saving it?
  • why am I archiving this information instead of just erasing it?
  • what am I trying to achieve by collecting all of this personal information?
Source: public domain
Source: public domain

Rights of individuals

Under the General Data Protection Regulation, individuals have a set of rights that you must keep in mind.

The right to consent. You must inform individuals before gathering any information about them. Consumers need to confirm that you can gather their data. Consent must be freely given and must be both easy to give and easy to withdraw.

The right to access. Users can request access to their personal information and ask you how their data is being used. You must provide users with a copy of their personal information free of charge upon request.

The right to data portability. Individuals can transfer their data from one service provider to another. This must happen in machine-readable format.

The right to erasure. If consumers are no longer your customers or if they choose to withdraw their consent to use their personal information, you must delete their data.

The right to correct information. If personal data is out of date, incomplete, or incorrect, individuals can request that you update it.

The right to restrict processing. Individuals have the right to ask you not to process their data. In this case, their records can remain in place, but you can’t use them.

The right to object. Individuals can stop the processing of their data for direct marketing. You must stop any data processing as soon as a user requests this. You must inform users of this right at the very start of communication.

The right to be notified of breaches. If a data breach jeopardizes someone’s personal data, you must inform them within 72 hours.


Fines and penalties for non-compliance

If you don’t meet the requirements stated in the regulation, authorities can halt all of your personal data processing activities and fine you heavily.

Administrative fines are discretionary. They must be imposed on a case-by-case basis and must be “effective, proportionate, and dissuasive.”

There are two tiers of administrative fines, which can range 10 to 20 million euros or 2% to 4% of a company’s annual global turnover. Fines depend on specific articles of the regulation that an organisation has violated. Infringements referring to obligations of an organization, including data security breaches, will carry lower fines, whereas violations of an individual’s privacy rights will carry higher fines.

Individuals also have the right to receive compensation for any material or non-material damages. In certain cases, not-for-profit bodies can bring representative action on behalf of individuals. This opens the door for mass claims in cases of large-scale infringements.

Security measures

Specific security measures need to be taken when processing data. The regulation obliges businesses and organizations to use the following measures:

  • firewalls;
  • encryption of files and digital communications;
  • pseudonymization to make data irreducible;
  • data backup and testing;
  • accessing security;
  • privacy by design.

Does your business need to appoint a Data Protection Officer?

You must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if you’re a public authority, an organization that engages in large-scale systematic monitoring, or an organization that engages in large-scale processing of sensitive personal information. If your organization doesn’t fall into one of these categories, then you don’t need to appoint a DPO. The DPO may be a staff member of your organisation or may be contracted externally. A DPO can be an individual or an organisation.

Impact on user engagement

The principles that the GDPR compliant privacy policy is trying to foster among businesses and organizations relate to trust and transparency. If you commit yourself to building GDPR-compliant software and adjust your business to this privacy shift, you’ll get a competitive advantage in the long run over those that don’t. Embracing compliance will change the way users interact with your business. They will know that their personal information is secure and that they’re in control. Your comprehensive compliance program will signal that you place significant importance on how you handle data and will help you grow a loyal user base.

Achieving GDPR success

The GDPR compliance was designed to safeguard the personal information of EU residents no matter how and where it’s handled. Businesses need to be careful and develop GDPR-compliant mobile apps. If your business fails to build a GDPR-compliant product, heavy fines will inevitably follow. The regulation gives individuals, prospects, customers, contractors, and employees that reside in the EU control over their data and is supposed to guide you when building software.

SteelKiwi maintains high privacy standards and builds GDPR-compliant software. We care how our clients appear on the market and follow all best practices regarding GDPR-compliant software development. In support of the above, find us on DesignRush where we are on the list of the Top Custom Software Development Companies.

See our portfolio to get a better understanding of our expertise and visit our page on to find out what clients say about SteelKiwi. We can ensure GDPR-compliant mobile development along with GDPR-compliant web development. If you’re looking to partner with a company that can build an excellent and safe environment for your users, contact us and our sales representative will get back to you shortly.