Everything you need to know about the GDPR Data Protection Officer (DPO)

A data protection officer (DPO) is an enterprise security leadership role required by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if you are a public authority or body, or if you carry out certain types of processing activities. Data protection officers are responsible for overseeing a company’s data protection strategy and its execution to make sure compliance with GDPR requirements.  DPOs help you to examine interior compliance, update and advise on your data protection responsibilities, provide guidance concerning Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and act as a contact point for data subjects and the managerial authority.

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Which companies need data protection officers?

As with most problems related to data security, regulatory responsibilities for data protection officers should be viewed as minimum standards. Article 37 of GDPR indicates that appointing a DPO is obligatory for any organization that carries out large amounts of public authority or body, whether for employees, clients outside the organization, or both.  DPO requirements are based on various factors such as: the amount of personal data that are processed; whether special category data is processed; and the nature of the business.

Data protection officer responsibilities and requirements

A DPO should be an organization’s privacy and customer defender. They should take ownership of compliance and promote it, having a public-facing function representing the interests of Data Subjects. A DPO’s responsibilities are to recognize and diminish data protection risks; make sure that organizations are compliant with appropriate guidelines of GDPR. They also act as the main point of contact with the regulatory data protection authority. The role involves encouraging privacy awareness at the most superior level, as well as ensuring all staff are well-skilled and know their data protection responsibilities and requirements.

Qualifications for data protection officers

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) also requires that the DPO must meet the criteria as a personal information controller, expert in knowledge of data protection law and practices. If an organization falls in the public sector (i.e. government offices) the DPO should hold a job or appointive position. Alternatively, DOP must be able to balance commercial and compliance considerations and also liaise confidently with the Data Protection Regulator.

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