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The New Era of Personal Data Protection in Cyprus

Data protection is the process of safeguarding important data from corruption, compromise or loss and providing the capability to restore the data to a functional state should something happen to render the data inaccessible or unusable.

Following four years of debate, the 2016/679 regulation of the European Parliament and Council of the 27th of April 2016, is enforced.

The regulation refers to the protection of individuals, concerning the process of their personal data, as well as, the free exchange of those data.

The regulation of the 27th of April 2016 entered into force on the 25th of May 2018.

The aforementioned regulation replaced the Directive 95/46 / EC, the provisions of which were transferred to the 2001 Personal Data Processing Law.

The regulation, unlike the Directive, ensures a high level of harmonisation and it is directly applicable to all European Member States.

The protection of natural persons, in regard to the processing of their personal data, it is a fundamental right. The Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and Article 16 of the treaty for the operation of the European Union, specify that every person has the right to protect its personal data.

The worldwide integration and rapid development of the data processing, as well as, the functioning of a global market, have resulted in an unparalleled increase flow of data collection, processing and cross-border exchange, from both private companies and public authorities.

Target

The Regulation aims the uniformity and decisive protection of the privacy, of the citizens of the European Union. This requirement ascended, due to the intense daily increasing trend of personal data exchange, worldwide, which in many cases was subject to violations of the personal data of individuals.

Interpretation of Definitions

According to the provisions of the Regulation, “personal data” is defined as the data and any kind of information that directly or indirectly identify an individual. This information may relate to his / her private, professional and / or personal life.

The processing of personal data, in accordance with the Article 4 of the Regulation, indicates that any act or series of operations carried out with or without the use of automated means, such as: collecting, recording, organising, structuring, storing, adapting or modifying, recovering, searching of information, using, disclosing by transmission, distributing or any other form of supplying, associating or combining, restraining, removing or destructing of data.

“Controller” is the natural or legal person, public authority, service or any other body that defines the purposes and manners of processing personal data.

“Processor” is the natural or legal person, public authority, service or any other entity, which process the personal data on behalf of the controller.

Basic Principles of the Regulation

The basic principle of the Regulation is the harmonisation and introduction of a set of data protection standards, which will apply uniformly, throughout the European Union.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest changes in the regulatory field of personal data protection derives mainly, from the extended jurisdiction of the Regulation, in all the European member states. The Regulation applies to all companies and organisations, which process personal data of people residing in the European Union, irrespective of the company’s registered office location.

Additionally, the Regulation refers to all private and public enterprises, as well as, government authorities that collect, process and generally manage personal data of customers, employees, associates or other natural persons, which are European citizens.

In summary, the new Regulation applies to all businesses that process personal data of European citizens, regardless of their location.

Moreover, an equally important characteristic of the Regulation is to introduce and strengthen the rights of individuals, whose personal data are being processed.

Additionally, it is notable to mention that the new Regulation introduced new obligations to businesses on the way they process personal data.

In fact, the Regulation is significantly increases the obligations of all entities that manage personal data of European citizens.

Severe amount penalties, according to Article 83 of the Regulation will be imposed to offenders, with fines ranging from €10,000,000 to €20,000,000 or from 2% to 4% of the total annual global turnover of the previous business year of a business. The fines will be applied according to the nature of the violation. Hence, the heavier fines will be exercised for breaches concerning the basic principles of the Regulation, related to data processing, data transfer in a third country without the consent of the individual and to the non-compliance with an order or limitation of the data processing, imposed by the supervisory authority.

Decisions, which are issued by the supervising authorities, in the context of the fine exercise power, will be subject to appeal before the Administrative Court on the basis of Article 146 of the Constitution.