Essential Insights for Data Protection Awareness Day 

Essential Insights for Data Protection Awareness Day 

As we approach Data Protection Awareness Day on January 28th, it’s crucial to revisit the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which has been in force for nearly six years!  

Time flies when you’re a DPO 😀  

As we gear up to celebrate Data Protection Awareness Day,  it’s time to acknowledge that data protection is not a one-day affair—it’s a daily commitment.  

Enter, the unsung hero, our Data Protection Officer (DPO) Lynsey Hanson with the compiled answers to the top 10 questions on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that everyone should know; especially those aiming to avoid the hefty fines we have seen since the introduction of GDPR back in 2018. 

1. What is GDPR? 

GDPR represents the most significant change to UK data privacy laws in two decades. Enacted on May 25th, 2018, it replaced the outdated Data Protection Act 1998, offering a unified set of rules designed to better protect personal data.   

Regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), GDPR aims to address the challenges posed by technology and the evolving use of data. 

2. Why was GDPR introduced? 

The original Data Protection Act became outdated with the rapid growth of the internet, leading to unforeseen uses of personal data, such as online behavioural advertising and social media. GDPR was introduced to address these changes, ensuring that individuals’ data is processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently.

3. Who does GDPR apply to? 

GDPR applies to any organization processing and holding the personal data of UK or EU citizens. This broad scope encompasses virtually every organization, emphasizing the importance of compliance for all entities.

4. What is a data breach? 

Organizations must safeguard personal data from misuse and exploitation. In the event of a data breach, GDPR enforces reporting specific breaches to relevant authorities such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours. 

5. What are the penalties for GDPR breaches? 

GDPR introduced a tiered approach to fines, where the severity of the breach determines the penalty imposed. The maximum fines for serious breaches can reach 4% of annual global turnover or £17.5 million.

Notable cases, such as Meta’s €1.2 billion fine in May 2023, highlight the significant financial consequences for non-compliance. 

6. What responsibilities do organisations have under GDPR? 

Organisations must adhere to six data protection principles outlined in GDPR Article 5. These principles include lawfulness, fairness, transparency, limitation, data minimization, accuracy, storage limitation, and integrity. By following these principles, companies can ensure the ethical and secure processing of personal data. 

7. What are GDPR ‘fundamental rights’? 

GDPR grants individuals several fundamental rights, including access, rectification, erasure, restriction of processing, data portability, object to processing, and the right to claim compensation for damages caused by infringements. 

8. Do I always need consent to process personal data? 

Consent is one of six legal bases for processing personal data under GDPR. Other bases include contractual necessity, legal obligation, protection of vital interests, public interest, and legitimate interests. Consent must be explicit, and sensitive data requires specific protection. 

9. How do I store personal data? 

Personal data should be stored on managed services whenever possible, utilizing encryption if stored on third-party devices. This ensures the security and integrity of personal data.  

10. Does everyone need a Data Protection Officer (DPO)? 

While not compulsory for all organizations, a DPO is required for public authorities or those engaging in large-scale systematic monitoring or processing of special categories of data. Companies may appoint a DPO voluntarily, but compliance with GDPR obligations remains paramount.  

Having a DPO is like having a security sidekick. After all, complying with Data Protection Regulation’s is a 24/7 job; it’s not just Data Protection Awareness Day—it’s Data Protection Every Day!


As we observe Data Protection Awareness Day on January 28th, understanding and prioritizing GDPR compliance is essential.

Organizations can enhance their compliance efforts through seeking professional advice from our DPO lynsey.hanson@tenintel.com, who can advise on available training, compliance gap analysis assessments, best practice guides and checklists.  

As technology continues to advance, staying informed and proactive, rather than reactive in data protection is the key in compliance.