GDPR - The Six Principles

When talking about GDPR, the conversation inevitably revolves around compliance – Is our website GDPR compliant? Does our Privacy Policy tick all the right boxes? What policies do we need to be GDPR compliant? How can we justify our Lawful Basis for processing personal data?

While many organisations and Data Protection Officers get bogged down in the minutiae of the General Data Protection Regulation, perhaps a better approach would be to consider the reasons and intent behind the regulation in the first place.

In Chapter II, Article 5, the regulation defines six principles for processing personal data:

Personal data shall be:


(a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject (‘lawfulness, fairness and transparency’);


(b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall, in accordance with Article 89(1), not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes (‘purpose limitation’);


(c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed (‘data minimisation’);


(d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay (‘accuracy’);


(e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by this Regulation in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subject (‘storage limitation’);


(f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures (‘integrity and confidentiality’).


If everyone in your organisation is familiar with these fundamental principles – and management and staff bear them in mind when storing, accessing and processing personal data – compliance with GDPR should become an everyday part of doing business.