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GDPR Controller Or Processor?

by Adam Brogden
in Blog

29-Oct-2019 11:03

Understanding your role in relation to the personal data you are processing is crucial in ensuring compliance with the GDPR and the fair treatment of individuals. Your obligations under the GDPR will vary depending on whether you are a controller, joint controller or processor. The ICO has the power to take action against controllers and processors under the GDPR. Individuals can bring claims for compensation and damages against both controllers and processors. You should take the time to assess, and document, the status of each organisation you work with in respect of all the personal data and processing activities you carry out. Whether you are a controller or processor depends on a number of issues. The key question is – who determines the purposes for which the data are processed and the means of processing. Organisations that determine the purposes and means of processing will be controllers regardless of how they are described in any contract about processing services.

Are we a controller?

  • We decided to collect or process the personal data.

  • We decided what the purpose or outcome of the processing was to be.

  • We decided what personal data should be collected.

  • We decided which individuals to collect personal data about.

  • We obtain a commercial gain or other benefit from the processing, except for any payment for services from another controller.

  • We are processing the personal data as a result of a contract between us and the data subject.

  • The data subjects are our employees.

  • We make decisions about the individuals concerned as part of or as a result of the processing.

  • We exercise professional judgement in the processing of the personal data.

  • We have a direct relationship with the data subjects.

  • We have complete autonomy as to how the personal data is processed.

  • We have appointed the processors to process the personal data on our behalf.

Are we a joint controller?

  • We have a common objective with others regarding the processing.

  • We are processing the personal data for the same purpose as another controller.

  • We are using the same set of personal data (eg one database) for this processing as another controller.

  • We have designed this process with another controller.

  • We have common information management rules with another controller.

Are we a processor?

  • We are following instructions from someone else regarding the processing of personal data.

  • We were given the personal data by a customer or similar third party, or told what data to collect.

  • We do not decide to collect personal data from individuals.

  • We do not decide what personal data should be collected from individuals.

  • We do not decide the lawful basis for the use of that data.

  • We do not decide what purpose or purposes the data will be used for.

  • We do not decide whether to disclose the data, or to whom.

  • We do not decide how long to retain the data.

  • We may make some decisions on how data is processed, but implement these decisions under a contract with someone else.

  • We are not interested in the end result of the processing.

This is a fundamentally important question and affect all your GDPR policies and procedures. If you are in any doubt please call us on: tel: 01772 217800

Good luck all.