Ross-Stern & Associates (“The Controllers”) collect personal data from individual users of our website, Some of this data may constitute protected “personal data” as that term is defined in the European Union (“EU”) General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

We take your privacy seriously and are committed to protecting any information that you elect to share with us via our website, subscription permissions, comments left on our website, and/or emails that you may send us. The EU’s GDPR represents the most stringent regulations for protecting the privacy of internet users anywhere in the world. Ross-Stern & Associates is committed to following these mandates and to protecting any personal information that you share with us. The following are frequently asked questions and answers about GDPR. We hope this will be of help to you.

What is GDPR?
The European Union ("EU") General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is a new comprehensive data protection law that updates existing ELU laws to strengthen the protection of “personal data” (any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, so-called “data subjects”) in light of rapid technological developments, the increasingly global nature of business, and more complex international flows of personal data. It replaces the current patchwork of national data protection laws with a single set of rules, directly enforceable in each EU member state. The GDPR became effective on May 25, 2018.

What is personal data?
Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (e.g., 'data subject'). An identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as: name, email address, or location, and also online identifiers like IP address, types of website cookies, and other device identifiers.

When did the GDPR take effect?
The GDPR was approved and adopted by the EU Parliament in April 2016. The regulation became effective after a two-year transition period and, unlike a Directive, it did not require any enabling legislation to be passed by government; meaning it became enforceable as of May 25, 2018. 

Who does the GDPR affect?
The GDPR not only applies to organizations located within the EU but it will also apply to organizations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU data subjects. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.

What are my rights under GDPR?
If the GDPR applies to retention of your personal data, you have several rights including (i) the right to request access, rectification or erasure of your data, (ii) the right to lodge a complaint with the appropriate European Union supervisory authority, and (iii) to the extent processing of data is based on consent, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Organizations can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover for breaching GDPR or €20 Million. This is the maximum fine that can be imposed for the most serious infringements e.g., not having sufficient customer consent to process data or violating the core of Privacy by Design concepts. There is a tiered approach to fines e.g., a company can be fined 2% for not having their records in order (article 28), not notifying the supervising authority and data subject about a breach or not conducting impact assessment. It is important to note that these rules apply to both controllers and processors — meaning 'clouds' will not be exempt from GDPR enforcement.

What constitutes 'personal data'?
The GDPR applies to ‘personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier. This definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, including name, identification number, location data or online identifier, reflecting changes in technology and the way organizations collect information about people.

What is the difference between a data processor and a data controller?
A controller is the entity that determines the purposes, conditions and means of the processing of personal data, while the processor is an entity which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.

Do data processors need 'explicit' or 'unambiguous' data subject consent — and what is the difference?
The conditions for consent have been strengthened, as companies will no longer be able to utilize long illegible terms and conditions full of legalese, as the request for consent must be given in an intelligible and easily accessible form, with the purpose for data processing attached to that consent — meaning it must be unambiguous. Consent must be clear and distinguishable from other matters and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it. Explicit consent is required only for processing sensitive personal data — in this context, nothing short of “opt in” will suffice. However, for non-sensitive data, “unambiguous” consent will suffice.

What about Data Subjects under the age of 16?
Parental consent will be required to process the personal data of children under the age of 16 for online services; member states may legislate for a lower age of consent but this will not be below the age of 13.

What is the difference between a regulation and a directive?
A regulation is a binding legislative act. It must be applied in its entirety across the EU, while a directive is a legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve. However, it is up to the individual countries to decide how. It is important to note that the GDPR is a regulation, in contrast the the previous legislation, which is a directive.

How does the GDPR affect policy surrounding data breaches?
Proposed regulations surrounding data breaches primarily relate to the notification policies of companies that have been breached. Data breaches which may pose a risk to individuals must be notified to the DPA within 72 hours and to affected individuals without undue delay. 

What is meant by 'Right to be forgotten'?
Individuals have the right to have their personal data deleted, in the event that it is no longer needed. ‘Right to be forgotten’ is in support of - freedom of expression.

Where can I get further information about GDPR?
For further information, please visit the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) website:

You can download a copy of the GDPR from: INIT/en/pdf.