The EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force across the European Union on 25th May 2018 and brings with it the most significant changes to data protection law in two decades. Based on privacy by design and taking a risk-based approach, the GDPR has been designed to meet the requirements of the digital age.
The 21st Century brings with it broader use of technology, new definitions of what constitutes personal data, and a vast increase in cross-border processing. The new Regulation aims to standardise data protection laws and processing across the EU; affording individuals stronger, more consistent rights to access and control their personal information.
Varlink Limited are committed to ensuring the security and protection of the personal information that we process, and to provide a compliant and consistent approach to data protection. We have always had a robust and effective data protection programme in place which complies with existing law. However, we recognise our obligations to meet the demands of the GDPR and the UK’s Data Protection Bill.
Varlink Limited are dedicated to safeguarding personal information and in developing a data protection regime that is effective, fit for purpose and demonstrates an understanding of the new regulation. Our preparation for GDPR compliance have been summarised in this statement.
Preparation for the GDPR
Varlink Limited have a consistent level of data protection and security across our organisation, and are fully compliant with the GDPR from 25th May 2018. Our preparation includes:
- Information Audit – carrying out a company-wide information audit to identify and assess what personal information we hold, where it comes from, how and why it is processed and if and to whom it is disclosed.
- Policies & Procedures – revising data protection policies and procedures to meet the requirements and standards of the GDPR and any relevant data protection laws, including: –
- Data Protection – our main policy and procedure document for data protection has been overhauled to meet the standards and requirements of the GDPR. Accountability and governance measures are in place to ensure that we understand and adequately disseminate and evidence our obligations and responsibilities.
- Data Retention & Erasure – we have updated our retention policy and schedule to ensure that we meet the ‘storage limitation’ and ‘data minimisation’ principles and that personal information is stored, archived and destroyed compliantly. We have erasure procedures in place to meet the new ‘Right to Erasure’ obligation and are aware of when this and other data subject’s rights apply; along with any exemptions, response timeframes and notification responsibilities.
- Data Breaches – our breach procedures ensure that we have measures in place to identify, assess, investigate and report any personal data breach within the required timeframe. Our procedures have been disseminated to all employees, making them aware of the reporting lines and steps to follow.
- International Data Transfers & Third-Party Disclosures – where Varlink Limited stores or transfers personal information outside the EU, we have safeguarding measures in place to secure, encrypt and maintain the integrity of the data. We carry out strict due diligence checks with all recipients of personal data to assess and verify that they have appropriate safeguards in place to protect the information, ensure enforceable data subject rights and have effective legal remedies for data subjects where applicable.
- Subject Access Request (SAR) – we have revised our SAR procedures to meet the 30-day timeframe for responses. Our new procedures detail how to verify the data subject, what steps to take for processing an access request, and what exemptions apply.
- Legal Basis for Processing – we have reviewed all personal data processing activities to identify the legal basis for processing and ensuring that each basis is appropriate for the activity it relates to. Where applicable, we also maintain records of our processing activities.
- Obtaining Consent – we have revised our consent mechanisms for obtaining personal data, ensuring that individuals understand what they are providing, why and how we use it and giving clear, defined ways to consent to us processing their information. We have developed a simple process to withdraw consent at any time.
- Direct Marketing – we have revised the processes for direct marketing, including clear opt-in mechanisms for marketing subscriptions and providing clear unsubscribe features on all marketing materials.
- Data Protection Impact Assessments – where we process personal information that is considered high risk, involves large scale processing or includes special category/criminal conviction data; we have developed procedures to comply fully with the GDPR’s Article 35 requirements.
- Processor Agreements – where we use any third-party to process personal information on our behalf (i.e. Payroll, Recruitment etc), we have due diligence procedures for ensuring that they meet and understand their GDPR obligations. These measures include the necessity of the processing activity, and compliance with the GDPR.
- Special Categories Data – where we obtain and process any special category information, we do so in complete compliance with the Article 9 requirements. Special category data is only processed where necessary and where we have first identified the appropriate Article 9(2) basis or the Data Protection Bill Schedule 1 condition. Where we rely on consent for processing, this is explicit and is verified by a signature, with the right to modify or remove consent being clearly signposted.
Data Subject Rights
In addition to the policies and procedures mentioned above, we provide easy to access information via our website of an individual’s right to access any personal information that Varlink Limited processes about them and to request information about: –
- What personal data we hold about them
- The purposes of the processing
- The categories of personal data concerned
- The recipients to whom the personal data has/will be disclosed
- How long we intend to store your personal data for
- If we did not collect the data directly from them, information about the source
- The right to have incomplete or inaccurate data about them corrected or completed and the process for requesting this
- The right to request erasure of personal data (where applicable) or to restrict processing in accordance with data protection laws, as well as to object to any direct marketing from us and to be informed about any automated decision-making that we use
- The right to lodge a complaint or seek judicial remedy and who to contact in such instances
Information Security & Technical and Organisational Measures
Varlink Limited takes the privacy and security of individuals and their personal information very seriously and take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect and secure the personal data that we process. We have robust information security policies and procedures in place to protect personal information from unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction and have several layers of security measures, including: SSL, access controls, password policy, encryptions, practices, restriction, IT, authentication, etc.
GDPR Roles and Employees
Varlink Limited have a designated Data Protection Team to develop and implement our compliance with the GDPR. The team are responsible for promoting awareness of the GDPR across the organisation, assessing our GDPR readiness, identifying any gap areas and implementing the new policies, procedures and measures.
Varlink Limited understands that continuous employee awareness and understanding is vital to the continued compliance of the GDPR and have involved our employees in our preparation plans. We have implemented an employee training program which has been provided to all employees prior to May 25th, 2018, and forms part of our induction and training programme.
If you have any questions about our preparation for the GDPR, please contact the Data Protection Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.