Cyber Security

Introduction

This is an overview of the key themes of Law Firms and GDPR. It is (General Data Protection Regulation) GDPR to help you understand the new legal framework in the EU. The GDPR will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.

Whilst there may still be questions about how the GDPR would apply in the UK on leaving the EU this should not distract from the important task of compliance with the GDPR.

The GDPR applies to

  •  ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’.
    • the controller says how and why personal data is processed and the processor acts on the controller’s behalf.
  • If you are a processor, the GDPR places specific legal obligations on you; for example, you are required to maintain records of personal data and processing activities. You will have significantly more legal liability if you are responsible for a breach. These obligations for processors are a new requirement under the GDPR.
  • If you are a controller, you are not relieved of your obligations where a processor is involved – the GDPR places further obligations on you to ensure your contracts with processors comply with the GDPR.
  • The GDPR applies to processing carried out by organisations operating within the EU. It also applies to organisations outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU.In short this means if you are hosted your hosting contract will need to be amended to reflect this. DPS Cloud will be amending their contracts to reflect this and new contracts will be in GDPR compliant from 2018 onwards.

What information does the GDPR apply to? 

Like the DPA, the GDPR applies to ‘personal data’. However, the GDPR’s definition is more detailed and makes it clear that information such as an online identifier – eg an IP address – can be personal data. The more expansive definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, reflecting changes in technology and the way organisations collect information about people.

For most organisations, keeping HR records, customer lists, or contact details etc, the change to the definition should make little practical difference. For Law Firms and GDPR you can assume that if you hold information that falls within the scope of the DPA, it will also fall within the scope of the GDPR.

The GDPR applies to both automated personal data and to manual filing systems where personal data are accessible according to specific criteria. This is wider than the DPA’s definition and could include chronologically ordered sets of manual records containing personal data.

Personal data that has been pseudonymised – eg key-coded – can fall within the scope of the GDPR depending on how difficult it is to attribute the pseudonym to a particular individual.

Law Firms and GDPR what does it mean?

Some frequently asked questions

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