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Kuan Hon explains...
Data controllers: be prepared. Your service providers (if well-advised) will want to negotiate or renegotiate your contracts.
Why? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This would make service providers and other data processors directly liable, across the European Economic Area, for security and certain other data protection-related matters. The EU institutions, each with their own version of the text and currently in horse-trading 'trilogue' negotiations, aim to agree and adopt GDPR by the end of 2015. That's not far off, in the scheme of things, although there should be a two-year lead time before the GDPR takes effect (directly) in all EEA Member States.
What's the big difference? Under the current Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, only data controllers have obligations and liabilities under data protection laws, in most Member States (although in a few, such as Ireland, processors do have direct liabilities under national implementing laws). Controllers determine the purposes and means of processing personal data; processors are engaged by controllers to process personal data on their behalf, ie service providers. A controller must put in place a contract (processor agreement, or Article 17 agreement) with its processor, requiring the processor to process personal data only in accordance with the controller's instructions, and to implement certain security measures. The controller also has to ensure the
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