Companies that have a website will be collecting some form of user data, regardless of the use case of the website, product, or service they offer. Companies have to collect personal user data for a multitude of services, running the site, and more.
So, how can they maintain their customer’s privacy? Well, in this piece of content, we will be elaborating on that and explaining how a website can be compliant with privacy regulations around the world.
What Kind of Personal Data do Companies Gather?
The thing about personal data is that not all of it can be used to identify you. Some of it is called personal data because it is personal to you. For example, if a company requires that a website collect device information, it will be collecting your personal data, but it cannot use that device information to identify you.
To differentiate these types of personal datum, they’re divided into two types:
· Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
· Non-Personally Identifiable Information (Non-PII)
PII includes things like your name, your social security number, your phone number, etc. This is any type of information that can be used to identify you, or can be used with other pieces of information to identify you.
Non-PII can be your Zip code, device ID, IP address, etc. IP addresses, for example, can reveal your general geolocation but do not provide accurate location details, such as your personal address. This enables companies to collect your IP address info without intruding on your privacy.
What Companies Do to Ensure GDPR Compliance?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any organization or company that operates in the European Union (EU), regardless of where the company is based from. However, GDPR is commonly followed by most companies around the world, especially for online use.
Companies follow certain rules and principles to ensure proper data handling:
· Know what kind of data to collect and how to handle it: This part is the first and most crucial. A company has to know about all the kinds of data they will collect. This extends not just to the data collection, but also where it is stored, how it is collected, who processes it, who handles it, etc. Additional regulations might apply, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
· Prioritize data security: Even if you have crystal clear data collection procedures, it won’t be effective if it is not completely secure, or at least, secure to a reasonable degree. Any data collected has to be transferred to the host (you), sent to third parties, and stored somewhere. All this should be encrypted, backed up, and secure—even in transit.
· Ensure any data processors operate in compliance with GDPR: Data processors are provided the data and the instructions on how to process it. They are often third parties that companies use to process their data, and while they are not 100% responsible for the third party, they are still held accountable.
· Keep privacy policies up to date: Privacy policies are how companies let their users know how their data is collected, processed, etc. Keeping these privacy policies and terms of service up to date and following GDPR is crucial for compliance.
· Provide Open Communication to Their Users: Under the GDPR, users can demand to view records of their data, request alteration, deletion, revision (ensuring it is up to date), and more. It is designed to give additional autonomy to users over their data, and companies need to have proper support staff and procedures to make their process as easy as possible.
Why is GDPR Important?
The GDPR legislation is there so that companies provide as much privacy as possible to users even if they are collecting vital PII from them. A large part of this regulation is that customers have the right to have all their data deleted if they wish and to have it done free of charge, with the only cost being that they can no longer be users of that product, service, or website from which the data is collected.
To ensure that your data is protected, companies have to be mindful of the data they handle, and how they handle it. Their employees need to always be mindful of the procedures of handling private consumer data, and ensure it is compliant with the GDPR principles.
Providing GDPR awareness training is one among several practices to ensure that these regulations and followed and the organization is compliant with them.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any website with users in the EU. Here, we have looked at a few ways how companies ensure that their website is GDPR compliant, and the importance of doing so.