The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is one of the landmark European Union (EU) regulations that was fully implemented on 25th May 2018. It mandates all businesses to take necessary measures to protect the confidential/personal data and privacy of EU citizens.
Failing to overhaul their data protection laws to align with GDPR can bring significant consequences and heavy penalties.
This blog explores GDPR’s impact on Australian businesses. We will delve into everything from what GDPR is all about and GDPR requirements in Australia.
What is GDPR and How Does it Work?
GDPR is a set of regulations for the European Union (EU) making data protection laws stricter encouraging businesses to manage and process data more securely.
The main types of privacy data that GDPR protects include:
- Personal identity information, including name, contact number, address and ID numbers
- Health-related and generic data
- Web-based data such as IP addresses, geo-location data, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and cookie data
- Biometric data
- Sexual orientation and racial/ethnic data
- Political opinions
- Economic status
GDPR outlines the rules and regulations for collecting and using personal information. It also emphasises making users’ consent an absolute must in processing this data. Therefore, maintaining trust between the business and its users. That’s why every business must demonstrate a high level of compliance with the updated regulations.
How Does GDPR Impact Australia?
Unlike the popular notion that GDPR only applies to businesses in the EU, it also applies to every business across the world that processes any kind of personal data (as mentioned above) of individuals in the European Union.
Simply put, GDPR laws are equally applicable to Australian businesses dealing with European customers in any form.
As an Australian business, you don’t only need to collect the personal information of EU individuals directly. GDPR will still apply to your business if you have prior agreements signed with customers.
All businesses, therefore, need to comply if they:
- Offer goods/services to individuals in the EU
- Have a presence within the European Union. This condition applies regardless of whether the business collects or processes personal data.
- Monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU in any form
Who Needs to Comply with the GDPR in Australia?
If you’re running a business in Australia with European customers, GDPR will surely apply to you. Some examples of Australian businesses that may require GDPR compliance are:
- Australian businesses with EU customers as their target audience. This could include giving clients the option to pay in Euros or allowing them to order goods/services in a European language other than English
- Australian businesses with a designated office in the EU
- Australian businesses with EU customers/users as web references (reviews/testimonials)
Domain Privacy Requirement with GDPR
Before the GDPR came into effect, any website domain without domain privacy would have their contact information published on the public WHOIS website for the general public to see. GDPR mandated businesses to leave it blank, with only the state of registration as the only information visible.
However, even though the WHOIS information isn’t listed in the public domain, some trusted vendors can still access the data associated with your domain, including your name, contact, address etc., to solicit products and services from you.
This is where domain privacy comes in. If you wish to keep all your business information private, getting domain privacy during domain name registration is recommended to help you avoid the risk of getting flooded with unwanted phone calls and emails.
How to Comply with the GDPR in Australia?
To maintain GDPR compliance in Australia, your business needs to follow a range of important regulations. These include everything from the way your business processes personal data to mandatory reporting timelines for data breaches.
Here are some of the things your business can do:
- Check if your business processes users’ data from the EU in any way. Then ensure that you have legal reasons to process this kind of personal information.
- Find out if any third party has access to the user’s personal data/information.
- Check if you are a controller (who determines the purposes/means of processing personal data) or processor (responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller) of data.
- Review the data privacy and security policies your business has in place to ensure that they follow all the guidelines set by GDPR.
- Rework your business policies and procedures to ensure they are complying with all the GDPR rules.
- Offer thorough GDPR training to your staff.
The exponential rise in online businesses in the last few years has led to the collection and monetisation of personal user data on a massive scale. This has encouraged governments to intervene and protect individual interests better with the new GDPR laws.
There’s been an overwhelming amount of information available about GDPR laws and their compliance. But we compiled key things about GDPR that Australian businesses need to know to put them back in control of their data.