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An Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Principles

If you’re a business within the European Union (or you do business with the European Union) then you’ll no doubt have heard the phrase GDPR before. The GDPR—or general data protection regulation—is a series of rules governing internet use and data that was first instituted in 2018. This includes rules on privacy and personal data processing, and it’s something that every business should be familiar with.

If you’ve heard of GDPR, but you’re unsure of the ins and outs of it, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about GDPR principles and how they can affect your business.


1. Lawfulness Fairness and Transparency

Lawfulness refers to the fact that your business should have a valid reason for processing a person’s data—for example, they’ve given you consent to do so or you need to do it for legal purposes. Fairness means you should be honest with a person about the reason you’re collecting their data. In the same vein, transparency refers to the fact that you can’t misrepresent what your business is or the work it does.

2. Purpose Limitation

Here we look at the reasons why you can collect a person’s data. The purpose you have for processing data must be firmly established and clearly communicated. It’s illegal to process data for any reason other than the ones you’ve stated.

3. Data Minimization

This principle states that you should collect the least amount of data you need for the purpose given. Only collect what you need, and no more. Avoid collecting extraneous data.

4. Accuracy

According to GDPR, the onus of confirming the accuracy of the data you’ve collected falls on your business. You’ll need protocols in place to amend incorrect data and delete or replace out-of-date data. One way of doing this is to schedule regular data audits.

5. Storage Limitation

Your business should have a justification for the length of time you’re storing data. You should have a stated period of data retention, after which the data should be deleted or anonymized. Software like can help you to efficiently do this.

6. Integrity and Confidentiality

As the entity processing the data, it’s your job to make sure that it’s kept confidential and safe from threats. This includes things like cyber-attacks and data leaks. You should have measures in place to keep all of your data safe.

7. Accountability 

The final GDPR principle is accountability. This states that your business needs to stay accountable for itself in regards to following the GDPR rules and regulations. You can be asked to show evidence of your compliance at any time, and you’ll need documentation and proof on hand to back this up.

The Seven GDPR Principles

As a business, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these GDPR principles. And to have checks and balances in place to make sure that you’re adhering to them.

Processing a person’s data is a serious thing, and should be treated as such. If you’re looking for more on cybersecurity and compliance, check out some of our other articles on this topic.

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