General Data Protection Regulation


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data privacy regulation implemented by the European Union in May 2018. It aims to protect the personal information of EU citizens and residents, and grants them greater control over how their data is used, collected, and shared. Organizations that collect or process data pertaining to EU individuals must adhere to the GDPR, or face potentially significant fines and penalties.


The phonetic pronunciation of “General Data Protection Regulation” is:/ˈʤɛnərəl ˈdeɪtə prəˈtɛkʃən ˌrɛɡjəˈleɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures and strengthens an individual’s right to protect their personal data, making companies accountable for the handling and processing of that data.
  2. Under GDPR, businesses are required to have a legal basis for processing personal data, being transparent about their data management, and providing users with tools to exercise their rights concerning their personal information.
  3. Non-compliance with GDPR can result in significant penalties and fines, making it crucial for businesses to adhere to the regulations and maintain robust data protection policies and practices.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is important because it serves as a comprehensive data protection framework designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, protect the privacy of individuals, and provide them with greater control over their personal information.

It impacts both individuals and businesses operating within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), ensuring that enterprises follow strict guidelines when handling user data.

By enforcing transparency, consent, and data minimization, GDPR aims to minimize the risks of data breaches, foster trust, and establish a consistent data protection landscape, ultimately benefiting all participants in the digital economy.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive privacy and data protection law that serves one central purpose: to give control back to European residents over their personal information. Introduced and implemented by the European Union (EU) in 2018, it fundamentally reshapes the way organizations handle and process data.

GDPR not only harmonizes the framework of data protection laws across EU member states, but it also provides individuals with more transparency, choice, and control over their personal data. The GDPR is used to ensure that businesses and organizations uphold the privacy rights of individuals by imposing stringent rules on the collection, storage, and use of personal data.

This regulation covers aspects such as data security, international data transfers, and management of data breaches. It fosters a sense of trust between businesses and their customers by requiring organizations to operate transparently and responsibly.

Non-compliance with GDPR can result in hefty fines, reputational damage, and loss of customers. As an all-encompassing and far-reaching regulation, the GDPR has made a lasting impact on the global landscape of data protection, prompting many nations outside of the EU to adopt similar regulations in order to maintain seamless data exchange and collaboration with European businesses.

Examples of General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law that was implemented on May 25,It aims to give citizens control over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international businesses. Here are three real-world examples illustrating the impact of GDPR on different scenarios:

British Airways GDPR fine: In October 2020, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined British Airways £20 million (approximately $26 million) for a data breach that occurred inPersonal data of approximately 400,000 customers, including names, addresses, and payment card information, was compromised due to insufficient security measures. This fine was levied under GDPR, demonstrating the high-stakes consequences for businesses in maintaining data privacy and security.

Google’s €50 million GDPR fine: In 2019, the French data protection regulatory agency, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), fined Google €50 million (approximately $57 million) for violations of GDPR. CNIL found that Google had not provided transparent and easily accessible information about its data consent policies and failed to obtain sufficient user consent for data processing. This case underscores the importance of transparent communication about data policies and ensuring user consent is freely given under GDPR.Max Schrems and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems filed complaints against Facebook and other major tech companies for the transfer of EU citizens’ data to the United States. These complaints eventually resulted in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidating the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a framework that had allowed for the transfer of personal data between the EU and the U.S. The CJEU ruled that the Privacy Shield did not uphold GDPR’s data protection standards, emphasizing the implications of GDPR for international data transfers and the need for stronger privacy protections in cross-border data transfer agreements.

General Data Protection Regulation FAQs

What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union (EU). Implemented on May 25, 2018, it aims to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, protect and empower all EU citizens, and reshape the way organizations approach data privacy.

Who does the GDPR apply to?

The GDPR applies to any organization operating within the EU and any organization outside of the EU that offers goods or services to, or monitors the behavior of, EU consumers. The regulation applies to all companies, regardless of their size, that process and hold the personal information of individuals residing in the EU.

What constitutes personal data according to the GDPR?

Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual. This includes name, identification number, location data, an online identifier, or specific factors that pertain to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, or social identity of an individual.

What are the key principles of the GDPR?

The GDPR is based on several key principles, including lawfulness, fairness, and transparency; purpose limitation; data minimization; accuracy; storage limitation; integrity and confidentiality; and accountability. Organizations must follow these principles during personal data collection and processing to comply with the GDPR requirements.

What are the rights of individuals under the GDPR?

Under the GDPR, individuals have several rights, including the right to be informed, the right to access, the right to rectification, the right to erasure, the right to restrict processing, the right to data portability, the right to object, and the right not to be subject to automated decision-making and profiling. Organizations must respect these rights and provide ways for individuals to exercise them.

What are the consequences of non-compliance with the GDPR?

Organizations found to be in violation of the GDPR can face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their annual global turnover, whichever is higher. Penalties and fines depend on the severity of the breach and the organization’s efforts to comply with GDPR guidelines.

Related Technology Terms


  • Personal Data
  • Data Controller
  • Data Processor
  • Data Subject Rights
  • Data Breach Notification


Sources for More Information


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