Cyprus: Processing Of Personal Data In The EU

Last Updated: 25 May 2017
Article by Chryso Antoniou

European Framework

The inconsistent implementation of the previous legal framework by Member States and the rapid technological developments have led to the need for stronger, more coherent and solid data protection rules. Thus, the European Parliament adopted on April 2016 the General Data Protection Regulation (the "GDPR"), a new legal framework on data protection which repeals the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The GDPR becomes directly applicable to all Member States from 25 May 2018. The GDPR sets up a regulatory framework which seeks to strengthen individuals' control over their personal data, harmonise the protection of this fundamental right and ensure the free flow of personal data between Member States.

Application of the GDPR

The GDPR applies to natural persons and covers data processed both by automated means (e.g. a computer database) and data contained in or intended to be part of non-automated filing systems (traditional paper files). In general, its scope its broadened by covering the processing of personal data where: (i) the controller or the processor is established in the European Union (the "EU"), regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not; (ii) the data subjects are in the EU, the controller or processor is not established in the EU and the processing activities relate to offering goods or services or the monitoring of the data subject's behavior which takes place within the EU; and (iii) the controller is not established in the EU but in a place where Member State law applies by virtue of public international law.

The GDPR does not apply to the processing of personal data by a natural person in the course of purely personal or household activity or by competent authorities in relation to the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties. The latter is governed by the EU Directive 2016/680.

Key Reforms

The GDPR introduces the following key reforms to the data protection within the EU:

Valid Consent

Consent is considered valid only if it constitutes a freely given, informed, specific, unambiguous and clear affirmative act in the form of a written (letter, email, fax) or oral statement. For instance, the data subject may tick a box when visiting an internet website or choose technical settings for information society services. Thus, silence, inactivity or pre-ticked boxes are excluded from the definition of valid consent. The data subject has also the right to withdraw its consent at any time and without any limitation. In case the data subject cannot refuse or withdraw consent without resulting to its detriment, then there is breach of the provisions of the GDPR.

Right to be forgotten

The data subjects enjoy the right to request the erasure of their personal data where: (i) the processing is no longer necessary for the purposes the data was initially collected; (ii) they have withdrawn their consent or objects to the processing of their personal data; and (iii) the processing does not comply with the GDPR. For instance, the consent might have been given by a child who was not fully aware of the risks involved and later wishes to have its personal data deleted from the internet.

Right to data portability

The data subjects have the right to receive their personal data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format and transmit these data to another controller where it has given its consent to the processing and the processing is carried out by automated means. Exemption to the right to data portability is provided where the processing is carried out by an official authority or in the public interest.

Data protection by design and by default

Firstly, the controller is obliged to implement appropriate technical and organization measures, designed to implement data-protection principles in order to protect the rights of data subjects.

Secondly, the controller shall implement appropriate technical and organization measures by default in order to ensure that the personal data are not made accessible to an indefinite number of natural persons but are made accessible and are processed only for the specific purpose of the processing.

The above may be achieved by minimizing or pseudonymising the processing of personal data, transparency of the functions and processing of personal data, enabling the data subject to monitor its data processing or enabling the controller to create and improve security features. The principles of data protection by design and by default shall be taken into consideration by the producers of products, services and applications and in the context of public tenders.

Data protection impact assessment

Where the processing is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the controller shall carry out beforehand an assessment of the likelihood and severity of the high risk and its impact on the protection of personal data. In particular, a data protection impact assessment is required where (i) the processing applies to large-scale processing operations which aim to process a considerable amount of personal data at regional, national or supranational level; (ii) systematic and extensive evaluation of personal aspects takes place in relation to personal data or following processing of special categories of personal data, biometric data or data on criminal convictions and offences or related security measures; or (iii) the processing results from monitoring publicly accessible areas on a large scale, especially when using optic-electronic devices.

The indiscriminate general notification obligations to the supervisory authority are now abolished and replaced by effective procedures and mechanisms which release the administrative and financial burdens imposed by the previous legal framework. The controller takes into consideration the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing and the sources of the risk.

Where the processing involves patients or clients' personal data and is carried out by an individual physician, other health care professional or lawyer, the processing is not considered as large scale and thus the data protection impact assessment is not mandatory.

Data breaches

The controller should communicate to the data subject a personal data breach, without undue delay, where the personal data breach is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, similarly to the above. The notification should take place not later than 72 hours after having become aware of the breach. If the latter is not possible, then the notification should include the reasons for which the delay occurred. The controller is exempt from the obligation to notify only if it is able to prove that the personal data breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons. Examples of such risks are the following: loss of control over their personal data or limitation of their rights, discrimination, identity theft or fraud, financial loss, unauthorized reversal of pseudonymisation, damage to reputation, loss of confidentiality of personal data protected by professional secrecy and so forth.

One-Stop Shop Mechanism

Where the controller or processor is established in more than one Member State or the processing of personal data affects data subjects in more than one Member State, the supervisory authority of the main or the single establishment of the controller or processor shall act as the lead authority.

The lead authority should cooperate with the supervisory authorities of other Member States concerned where: (i) the establishment of the controller or processor is situated on the territory of that Member State; (ii) the data subject who lodged a complaint resides in that Member State; or (iii) the complaint has been lodged with the specific supervisory authority.

The lead authority should, inter alia, adopt binding decisions and coordinate the supervisory authorities concerned in the decision-making process.

The supervisory authorities should handle local cases where (a) the subject matter of the specific processing concerns only processing carried out in a single Member State; or (b) involves only data subjects in that single Member State. Under these circumstances, the supervisory authority should inform the lead authority and the latter should decide whether it will handle the case based on the principle for cooperation between the lead authority and the other supervisory authorities.

In cases where the processing is carried out by public authorities or private bodies in the public interest, the one-stop shop mechanism shall not apply and the competent authority shall be the supervisory authority of the Member State of such public authority or private body.

Data Protection Officer

A Data Protection Officer shall be appointed where the controller and the processor fall within one of the three following circumstances: (a) it is a public authority or body; or in the private sector, (b) their core activities require regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale; or (c) their core activities consist of processing on a large scale of special categories of data and personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences. The Data Protection Officer assumes the tasks of advising, monitoring internal compliance and cooperating with the supervisory authority and is bound by secrecy and confidentiality.

European Data Protection Board

The European Data Protection Board (the "Board") is a newly established by the GDPR body which has legal personality. It is assigned by the tasks of ensuring and monitoring the consistent application of the GDPR, issuance of guidelines, recommendations and best practices and so forth.

Code of Conduct

The controllers and processors may draw up codes of conduct to facilitate the effective application of the GDPR and regulate the obligations of the controllers and processors. Such codes shall take into consideration the specific characteristics of the processing carried out in each different sector and the specific needs of micro, small and medium enterprises. The monitoring of the compliance with a code of conduct may be carried out by a body which has an appropriate level of expertise and is accredited for that purpose by the competent supervisory authority.

Certification

For the purpose of demonstrating compliance with the Regulation, the GDPR provides for the establishment of data protection certification mechanisms and of data protection seals and marks. A certification is voluntary and may be issued by the certification bodies or by the competent supervisory authority or by the Board to a controller or processor for a maximum period of three years and may be renewed. The Board shall publish all certification mechanisms and data protection seals and marks in a register.

Transfers of personal data to third countries or international organisations

The GDPR, similarly to the previous legal framework, allows the transfers of personal data to third countries or international organisations only if these implement an adequate level of protection similar to EU's. The European Commission may decide with effect for the entire EU that certain third countries or international organisations meet the said standards. In case of absence of an adequacy decision, the controller or processor should take measures to ensure appropriate safeguards of the data subject whose personal data are being transferred. A group of undertakings or enterprises engaged in a joint economic activity may make use of approved binding corporate rules for transfers within the group.

Penalties

Infringements of several provisions of the GDPR shall amount to administrative fines up to €20,000,000 or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher. Such infringements include processing without clear affirmative consent act, non-compliance with an order by the supervisory authority or with the requirements relating to international transfers of personal data. Other violations of provisions which, for instance, refer to the tasks of the data protection officer or to child's consent shall attract administrative fines up to €10,000,000 or in the case of an undertaking, up to 2% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher. In assessing the level of the penalty, the GDPR provides for specific factors to be taken into account, such as the nature, gravity and duration of the violation, any relevant previous violations by the controller or processor or the categories of personal data affected.

Concluding Remarks

The standards of protection of personal data have been undoubtedly raised and enhanced with tools which ensure privacy throughout the social networks and cloud providers. The controllers and processors must take significant efforts to comply with the provisions of the GDPR. The high amounts of fines imposed to those who do not comply are significantly influential and deterrent.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.