Only 3 more weeks to go before the GDPR becomes fully effective. Preparing your company for the application of this new regulation requires a correct understanding of its principles. Each week, we highlight one particular misconception regarding the interpretation of the GDPR.

How are controllers and processors required to demonstrate its compliance with the GDPR and to whom?

Data controllers are required to demonstrate to the supervisory independent public authorities of the EU Member States that they comply with the GDPR. These authorities have investigative powers to verify the lawfulness of the data processing activities performed.

Such verifications are relevant because data controllers and processors are responsible (“principle of accountability”) for implementing - both at the time the means used for processing are determined and at the time of the processing itself - appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure an effective level of protection of the processed personal data (known as “data protection by design and by default”).

The GDPR indicates various modalities that data controllers or processors can put in place for the purpose of demonstrating that their data processing is lawfully carried out. These include:

  • implementation of internal data protection policies;
  • adoption of codes of conduct approved by associations and other bodies representing categories of controllers or processors;
  • obtainment of data-protection certifications by certification bodies accredited by the supervisory independent public authorities of EU Member States;
  • compliance with guidelines issued by the European Data Protection Board; and/or
  • compliance with specific indications given by a data protection officer.