Individuals working in positions directly relating to technology or software development often view GDPR compliance as being outside of their domain, and thus might not see the value in GDPR training. Though the extensive requirements of the GDPR can be difficult to fully comprehend, those working in technology development have a special role in ensuring GDPR compliance within their companies. One of the goals of the GDPR is to stimulate the European economy by ensuring that people are still able to trust the security of digital commerce and by enabling the free –but lawful– flow of data. By extension, this essentially means that on a much smaller scale, GDPR compliance, i.e. ensuring that the privacy rights of data subjects are protected, helps build the trust of consumers in individual businesses and the digital economy.
Reaching a high level of compliance takes time. As with most endeavours that rely on change management (e.g. setting up a quality management system or an information security management system), staff training plays a crucial role in aligning operations with business goals. Documenting evidence of GDPR training goes a long way in objectively displaying the journey achieved to date.
Data Protection by Design and GDPR Training
The GDPR dictates that a company must weave privacy into the very fabric of a processing operations through the principles of Data Protection by Design and Data Protection by Default, outlined in Article 25 of the GDPR. As such, the individuals responsible for building the technology involved in data collection and processing must pay special heed to the fundamental principles of privacy. Finally, while software designers might not be the first line of defence in terms of achieving GDPR compliance, one could indeed see them as the last line of defence in this regard, and as such ought to be able to recognize the challenges and complexities involved in achieving GDPR compliance.
Thus, encouraging tech developers as well as software engineers and coders to engage in GDPR training achieves two goals for companies looking to enact strong GDPR compliance measures. It both enables designers to include legal requirements in the handling of data and documents company efforts in delivering compliant solutions as a vendor (data processor) or as an implementer (data controller). As Recital 78 of the GDPR states,
When developing, designing, selecting and using applications, services and products that are based on the processing of personal data or process personal data to fulfil their task, producers of the products, services and applications should be encouraged to take into account the right to data protection when developing and designing such products, services and applications and, with due regard to the state of the art, to make sure that controllers and processors are able to fulfil their data protection obligations.
GDPR and Technology Neutrality
Though there are debates as to whether or not the GDPR prevents the development of advanced technology, the GDPR was not created with the intention of stifling technological innovation. An important feature of the GDPR is that it is technologically neutral, meaning that it does not discriminate between two different technologies with the same functionality or between existing and new technologies. Though its technological neutrality makes the GDPR a much more effective and widely applicable piece of legislation, it also makes it quite a bit more difficult for developers to implement.
Rather than regulating technology itself, legislation regulates only the effects of technology use and the conditions surrounding the actual processing. In essence, the GDPR does not offer specific guidelines for compliance for those developing technology. The GDPR was created to apply to technological developments taking place after its coming into force, so it is up to those developing technology to make sure that their work supports GDPR compliance.
What challenges do developers of data processing technology face in GDPR Compliance?
New technology brings unique challenges under the GDPR. This is the case with IoT, blockchain, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. Certain aspects of each of these might, at first glance, appear to be inherently incompatible with GDPR compliance. Since it is always best not to ignore the law, the development of new technology must take data protection into special consideration. GDPR training thus becomes a market differentiator for these organisations. Awareness of the available data subject rights, as well as the obligations of the data controller and data processor, is necessary to prevent incompatibilities between legislation and feature developments.
How should companies implement GDPR training?
GDPR compliance is a complicated, though necessary, endeavour. Given that organisations are required to adhere to the principles of Privacy by Design and Privacy by Default along with the core data protection principles, developers need to consider data protection at every phase of the design and development process. In order to develop products that have the potential to be used in a GDPR-compliant way, employees need to comprehend the rights of data subjects and the obligations of the data controller and the data processor which the GDPR outlines.
Without an adequate knowledge of GDPR requirements, it is impossible for individuals or teams to implement the necessary measures to ensure an adequate protection of data subject rights. Awareness of the challenges behind GDPR compliance and the possible conflicts between data protections and certain technologies, achieved through GDPR training, is a fundamental first step towards solving these issues and creating products and organisations that thoroughly protect the rights of data subjects.
While compliance and GDPR training for employees are no simple tasks for an organisation to undertake, especially fast-developing fields of technology, there are many resources available to help staff understand and best implement GDPR-appropriate measures in their respective roles. One of the most convenient ways for companies to train their technical staff on the GDPR is through the use of an online course.
TechGDPR has created a unique GDPR training online course specifically for individuals working in technical roles, such as software developers, software engineers, devops, software architects, and more. This course will help clarify the GDPR requirements for technology developers and give them the tools they need to achieve GDPR compliance within their organisations and products. Though the GDPR does not outline specifications for training requirements in this regard, the extensive requirements of the Regulation and the principles of Data Protection by Design and Data Protection by Default mean that creators of data processing technology help methodically consider which requirements apply and navigate them autonomously.