How the General Data Protection Regulation Is Impacting Companies Around the World

Biometric Data, Privacy, and General Data Protection Regulation

Fingerprints, facial patterns, and voice cadence are all examples of biometric data. These data are typically used for identification and authentication purposes. While biometric data make granting access faster and more secure, without proper threat remediation, they also can leave your personal data vulnerable.   

Under current legal provisions around the world, not much legislation specifically addresses protection of this data. In cases that deal with the issue, the law relies mostly on related provisions under personal data protection and privacy statutes. However, in 2016, the European Union (EU) introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which does address biometrics.     

What is GDPR and How Does It Provide Data Protection?

Approved by the EU in 2016 and later enforced in 2018, the GDPR regulates how companies protect your personal data if you’re an EU citizen. This law replaced the previous privacy protection mandate, called the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The GDPR introduces a number of requirements companies must follow, including:

  • Obtaining consent before data processing
  • Protecting privacy by making collected data anonymous
  • Providing notifications in the event of a data breach


The Main Goal of GDPR

The aim of the GDPR is to protect and empower people by giving them more control over their personal data. It also unifies data privacy laws across the EU. To accomplish this, the GDPR mandates that all companies that handle personal data must comply with a single set of rules to secure the processing and movement of personal data.   

Who Has to Comply With GDPR?

Although this policy is meant only to protect citizens of the EU, the ramifications have an impact on the international community. Non-European companies that offer goods and services to EU citizens also must comply with this regulation.

Penalties and Enforcement

Under the GDPR, enforcement and penalties for non-compliance are stiffer than they were for the Data Protection Directive. The GDPR gives Supervising Authorities (SA) more power to investigate and regulate. An SA may issue warnings, perform audits, order the deletion of data, require companies to make improvements, and block companies from transferring data to other countries.

If a company fails to comply, the GDPR gives an SA the power to issue fines. The size of the fine depends on the circumstances of each case.  


Will Data Privacy Come to the United States?

At the moment, the U.S. doesn’t have policies like the GDPR. However, this could change in the near future. As companies like Facebook and Google have drawn increased scrutiny over information security, American data protection has been thrust into the spotlight.

Some states have already begun laying the groundwork for their own data protection laws. As a result, companies in the U.S. have begun rethinking how they approach personal data protection.


Best Practices for Staying Compliant with GDPR

Regardless of your organization’s size, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all of the requirements of the GDPR. One way to ensure you’re ready to comply with the policy is to put someone in charge of building a data protection program and setting up ways to assess threat risks and vulnerabilities. Once the program is in place, stay up-to-date with any changes to the GDPR.


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