A new set of rules called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018. This document introduced some improved measures to protect the personal information of individuals inside the European Union. Not only does it provide European citizens with tools to control their data but also tightens the penalty for GDPR non-compliance. The fees of around 20 million euros or 4% of an annual turnover make software engineers feel anxious and paralyzed by fear.
However, it’s not as terrifying as it seems. Let’s look into some aspects of GDPR that software engineers should consider.
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Key Points to Understand
Nowadays everyone, be it an individual or a company, faces data collection. Thus, the EU came up with an improved way to protect personal information. GDPR is an official tool to increase customers’ privacy and control over their data.
Therefore, to continue working successfully on the European market, companies dealing with personal information have to make sure that their software developers are aware of all the GDPR requirements to build any product or service.
The key idea of GDPR in providing software development services is data subject transparency. This section contains several rights such as:
- the right of access;
- the right of erasure;
- the right of rectification;
- the right to be notified of data breaches;
- the right of data portability;
- the right to restrict/object to processing.
Let’s review the most significant ones.
Right to Access
Right to access also known as subject access request (SAR) offers customers the ability to check any information that the company holds on them. This possibility lets individuals access the data, check it, and control if it is being used in compliance with the law.
An individual can make the request in any form: written, verbal, or even through third parties. SAR must be resolved within a month if there are no constraints such as the complexity of the request or lack of information necessary to respond to it.
To comply with these GDPR rules software developers should find a way to store personal information most conveniently so it will be easily retrieved if there comes a request.
Right to Erasure
The right to erasure enforces the company to delete the data they hold on the customers if they ask that. This right can be implemented in the following cases:
- The personal information is no longer necessary for the initial purpose;
- Customers don’t give their consent to processing it any longer;
- Personal information doesn’t have a legitimate reason to be processed, and some others.
As a result, to stay within GDPR software compliance a company should have relevant proof of why they store personal information. Moreover, they should make it convenient and fast for the users to request erasure.
In case personal data can’t be deleted software engineers should make it anonymous in a way that the customer will not be identified. It’s important to keep in mind that the erasure may affect other systems if the personal data is used in different processes at the same time.
Right to Rectification
According to GDPR, every individual has the right to have some of their inaccurate information changed. The request can be formed in a verbal or written way. The same as SAR or request for erasure, request for rectification must be processed within 30 days. What is more, organizations have to check whether the new information is accurate and then rectify it within the deadlines.
To make this process time-effective and cost-cutting software engineers can adjust their products and services to let customers amend all the necessary information by themselves using real-time changing options in personal accounts.
Designing For Privacy
To eliminate future issues and to increase customer expectations it’s better to build your project’s architecture in compliance with GDPR requirements. Here are some steps that developers should pay attention to:
- Access. Since GDPR enforces companies to have a clear understanding of what data they have and where it is stored it is important to have full control over your project’s information. Access to all sources of data is a key to the successful management of personal data security and privacy.
- Data classification. If the company processes much personal information it can be useful to build good navigation and classification. Not only should the information be divided into different groups, but also it should be easily found and extracted.
- Managing information. It is necessary to establish the managing model with roles, where managing staff will have rights to access only a specific part of personal information.
- Data protection. This step is crucial for a company’s success since the lack of protection leads to information leaks and, as a result, to public disgrace. To follow GDPR requirements software companies can protect customers’ data by encrypting it, anonymizing, or applying some other techniques.
Why GDPR is Important?
GDPR is a way to protect the personal information of EU residents and to enhance their rights. It makes companies that work with personal data think more about data privacy and transparency. It helps to draw attention to the risks connected with personal data protection and find new ways to cut them.
It’s impossible to ignore GDPR in the modern digitized world. Thus, the company’s software engineers should be aware of all GDPR requirements to build them in at the very beginning not to face any issues in the future. Another option is to look for staff augmentation services, so the developers experienced in that sphere will help your company to comply with the necessary privacy regulations.