All e-commerce companies operating within the European Union (EU) and member states are covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), since its implementation in May 2018. This extends to any companies that supply materials and equipment located within the EU or offer services to individuals residing in host countries under the EU.
As far as the GDPR is concerned, there are three scopes of responsibilities an entity may fall under. As a Data Controller, the entity determines why personal data needs to be collected and proceeds to plan which processes these data need to pass through. As a Data Processor, usually, a third party entity obtains data from the Data Collector and processes them. The Data Controller gives instructions on how the Data Processor handles the data. Lastly, the Data Subject is the provider of information, which may be in the form of names, addresses, and other types to the Data Controller.
The purpose of the GDPR is to ensure that your organization is equipped to keep your client’s data protected. Furthermore, adherence to the GDPR saves you from spending time and money in settling fines and other corrective sanctions.
Your website and its data collection should exhibit lawfulness, transparency, accuracy, and accountability as your Data Controller and Data Processor obtain as least data as possible with integrity in processing information and limiting data retention.
Regarding data protection, your organization must constantly apply a “by design and by default” approach. This means you need to be attentive to up-to-date technology and incorporate the level of data protection accordingly.
Here is a summary of the things you need to maintain when running a website, as a Data Controller and Data Processor.
Overall, an organization must be prepared in dealing with personal information. You can best do this by regularly conducting a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA). This system clarifies the objective of processing data and identifies which type of data you will use, determines the identity and location of entities within your organization that information is accessible to, consolidates measures of data protection, and estimates the appropriate length of data retention and then its erasure.
Another way this can be manifested is the display of your company’s details on the website.
Organizational procedures such as minimizing the collection of personal data and deleting obsolete information and encryption and anonymizing confidential data must be taught to the members of the company. In times of a data breach, the detection system and the notification to proper authorities should be smooth, immediate, and accurate.
During transactions with clients through the website, always implement a system that would ask for the consent of the clients before collecting their data. Be clear in stating the purpose of doing so, present your legal compliances, and ensure the confidentiality of this information between the client and the company. Likewise, inform the client on how long the data will stay stored in the system, and if any other entities are designated to handle or process their information.
The company must allocate the responsibility of evaluating and assessing risks to the measures and practices on data processing and collection. In case of the involvement of third parties, the organization must document all contracts and agreements properly. An instance when third parties are engaged is if your website allows social media embeds and logins.
If deemed necessary, designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO).
The customers, as Data Subjects, are entitled to ask for the data you have collected from them. It is advisable to, at the start of any transaction, verify the identity of the client, especially if they are requesting their data from your organization.
The purpose of this inclusion is for the clients to exercise their right to their information by asking you to delete outdated or inaccurate data, to request for termination of data control and processing, or to receive a portable version of their data from you. These safeguards should be regularly monitored and implemented to prevent data breaches and unlawful processing of personal data.
To avoid any friction with your customers, make sure that all your transactions are well documented and are presented in formats that are easily understood and read by clients. These practices may be easier for both the organization and clients if the website is maintained and updated using updated technology and information.
All users will definitely appreciate that the website asks for their consent before it collects cookie data from them. Data control, processing, and protection must be taken seriously, as legal provisions are established to keep Data Subjects secure and to prevent illegal access and breach of data. Therefore, it is vital that you partner with the best website service providers and consultants to ensure that all your website features and procedures meet with requirements set in the GDPR.