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How Will GDPR Affect Your School?

Published on 10/05/17

On the 25th May 2018 the current Data Protection Act (DPA) will be replaced by the new and updated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - meaning the way you manage all information and data within your school will change. "What on earth are you talking about?" I hear you say. Well, let me elaborate...

What is the Data Protection Act (DPA)?

The DPA law was passed in 1998, marking a big step forward in the way information about people is legally used and handled. The main purpose of the legislation was to protect individuals against misuse or abuse of information about them. This prevents companies, bodies or businesses selling or passing on information about their customers and staff.

Why was it introduced?

Databases are easily accessed, searched and edited and with more and more organisations (including schools) storing information on computers to store and process personal information. With this comes the likelihood of this information ending up in the wrong hands, which is exactly why the DPA was introduced.

What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

To put it simply, the GDPR is a new data protection regulation designed to strengthen and unify the safety and security of all data held within an organisation (including schools, academies and other educational establishments).

"The GDPR replaces the DPA and affects all UK companies who collect or process personal information. It's focused on looking after the privacy and rights of the individual, and based on the premise that consumers and data subjects should have knowledge of what data is held about them and how it's used."

Steve Sands, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Data Protection Officer (DPO) at Synectics Solutions.

The 6 Principles of the GDPR

Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:

(a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;

(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 not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;

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

(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;

(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 or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;

(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.

Article 5(2) requires that:

"the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles."

The main differences between the GDPR and the DPA are:

  • Down from 8 principles to 6
  • Any data accessed and used to be lawful, fair and transparent
  • Data being adequate, relevant and limited to what's necessary in relation to the purpose of the data access
  • Consideration given as to how accurate and up-to-date the data is
  • Looks into the technical and organisational measures in place to protect against unlawful authorised processing, accidental loss or destruction
  • Businesses in breach of the GDPR will reach fines up to 4% of a business's turnover
  • The GDPR requires you to show how you comply with the principles
  • Two different types of financial jeopardy: fines for Personal Data Breaches (PDBs); and fines for Administrative breaches. (The fines are between 2-5% of the previous year annual turnover)
  • Under the GDPR it will be illegal to not have a formal contract or Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place with your chosen Data Processor.
  • It will also be a criminal offence to choose an IT recycling partner/Data Processor who doesn't hold the minimum competencies and accreditations for IT asset disposal (ADISA, ISO 27001, Blancco etc.)
  • You must be able to demonstrate you are working with an accredited company when it comes to disposing of your data bearing end of life IT assets (details of parents, staff, students no longer at the school).

Under the GDPR, marketing consent must be explicit and in a form of:

  • Time limited opt-in
  • In plain language (age appropriate to the Data Subject)
  • With the requirement that the Data Subject is able to opt-out of profiling and object to the results of profiling.

How will GDPR affect schools?

The GDPR will ultimately change the way schools, academies and trusts handle their data and the way information is managed. As mentioned previously, failure to comply could lead to large fines.

How to prepare for the GDPR

  • Awareness: Make people in your school aware that the DPA is changing and how it will affect schools.
  • Information: Audit the information you currently hold and what Data Processing policies are currently in place.
  • Privacy: Review your current privacy agreement and put a plan in place for any changes that are necessary.
  • Rights: Check your current privacy policies to ensure your procedures cover all the rights individuals have (including how you delete personal data).
  • Consent: Review how you are seeking, obtaining and recording consent for data processing.
  • Breaches: Make sure you have the correct procedures in place to investigate and report a personal data breach.
  • Students: Think about what systems you're going to put in place to verify the age of individuals and to gather consent from parents or guardians in regards to data processing.
  • Officers: Designate a Data Protection Officer to take responsibility for data protection compliance.
  • e-safety: Having an e-safety policy in place is vital to ensure all key stakeholders know what needs to be done to remain compliant.
  • Processor: Choose an accredited Data Processor who is also compliant with GDPR obligations and IT asset disposal.

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