July 31, 2023
A Startup’s Guide to GDPR and Privacy
Are you a startup venturing into the exciting world of technology or medical innovation? While starting a project in the technology and medical area can be an exciting experience, it is crucial to consider the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), even if you’re a startup.
In this blog post, we are providing you with simple and fundamental steps to comply with GDPR and gain awareness about privacy regulations, especially when dealing with sensitive medical data.
Let’s start by understanding the basics before diving into practical implementation.
Familiarize yourself with the core principles of GDPR and the legal requirements for processing personal data.
Differentiating between Data Controllers and Data Processors is essential. This distinction determines your obligations, which vary depending on your role. Establishing a register of processing activities is a crucial step in your compliance journey.
It is important to distinguish sensitive data and personal data because sensitive data requires additional protection due to its potential impact on an individual’s rights and freedoms. You can find a sample register on the CNIL website for guidance. Understanding the purpose of processing means having a clear understanding of why you collect and use personal data, and under which legal basis.
GDPR requires organizations to have a lawful basis for processing personal data, such as fulfilling a contract, complying with a legal obligation, or obtaining consent. You also need to take into account the principles of the GDPR which are:
- Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency: Have a valid reason for handling personal data and be transparent about its usage.
- Purpose limitation: Collect and use personal data only for specific, legitimate purposes. Communicate these purposes clearly to individuals and seek consent for any new purposes.
- Data minimization: Collect only necessary data for your intended purposes, avoiding irrelevant information.
- Accuracy: Ensure the data you collect is accurate and up-to-date. Implement checks to maintain data reliability.
- Storage limitation: Justify the duration for which data is kept and establish appropriate retention periods. Anonymize or delete data when it’s no longer needed.
- Integrity and confidentiality: Safeguard personal data from unauthorized access or loss, ensuring security and confidentiality.
- Accountability: Take responsibility for complying with data protection principles, maintain records to demonstrate compliance, and cooperate with authorities if required.
Our advice is to establish the Registers and Data Flow mapping simultaneously, as they complement each other. By employing this method, you can create a comprehensive Data Flow mapping, allowing your company, all the departments, and your colleagues to gain a clearer view of data flows within your company. This mapping exercise will help you in defining policies for data retention, deletion, and internal data transfers.
Additionally, conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) when processing data that may pose a high risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms, especially sensitive data.
DPIAs are vital tools to assess and mitigate privacy risks associated with data processing activities. Identify and evaluate potential risks, implement appropriate safeguards, and demonstrate GDPR compliance.
Data security is crucial, particularly in the medical domain and sensitive data processing. Prioritize privacy by design and by default to comply with GDPR. Adopt robust end-to-end encryption solutions to secure personal data and limit access. With iCure, you can effectively secure your data and achieve compliance with privacy by design and by default principles mandated by the GDPR. Learn more here.
Also, even if you are a start-up, with a low activity in processing personal data, you will need to create a dedicated portal for data subject requests, allowing individuals to exercise their rights under GDPR, which include the right to access, rectify, and erase their personal data.
Establish an incident management plan and implement measures to mitigate risks. Refer to our blog post on preventing data loss for valuable insights.
You will also need to review and establish contracts, such as Data Processing Agreements, with your suppliers and clients. Develop internal procedures in case of a data breach or incident.
You’ll need to be able to promptly notify the supervisory authority and affected individuals of any data breach that poses a risk to their rights and freedoms within 72 hours of awareness. If you’re a data processor, you must also notify the data controller about any data breaches. In case the data breach poses a high risk to individuals, it’s important to inform them unless effective measures are in place to mitigate the risk.
For certain organizations, depending on their activities, the appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO) may be mandatory. This requirement applies to public authorities or bodies, as well as organizations whose core activities involve large-scale regular and systematic monitoring of individuals or processing of sensitive personal data.
Lastly, startups developing medical solutions should consider local regulations regarding patient rights and their medical record. For example, in some European countries, medical records must not be kept for more than 50 years. These regulations are additional to the GDPR.
Secure your sensitive data to achieve GDPR compliance by using iCure’s database management and encryption solutions. Explore iCure’s products and services now to safeguard your data!
Our upcoming blog post will dive into the specifics of cookie regulations, providing you with comprehensive knowledge on this topic.
Please note that this information is for guidance and should not be considered legal advice and achieving full GDPR compliance may require further research.