What is the difference between GDPR and Data Protection Act?

June 16, 2023

Did you know the global data generated in the last two years accounts for over 90% of all data created? In today’s digital landscape, data protection has become a paramount concern. 

Two significant regulations to address this issue are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA). Understanding the distinctions between these two regulations is crucial for businesses and individuals aiming to safeguard personal information.

In this article, we will delve into the differences between GDPR and the Data Protection Act, equipping you with the essential knowledge to navigate the complexities of data protection.

What is Data Protection Act?

The Data Protection Act (DPA) is a comprehensive legislation enacted in the United Kingdom to regulate personal data collection, use, storage and disclosure. In 2018, it replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 and aligned with the European Union’s Data Protection Directive. 

The DPA’s primary purpose is to protect individuals’ rights concerning their data and ensure that organisations handling such data do so responsibly and securely.

Difference Between GDPR and Data Protection Act

While GDPR and the Data Protection Act share common objectives, there are significant differences between the two regulations. Firstly, their geographical scope differs. GDPR is a regulation applicable across the European Union. It extends its reach to organisations outside the EU that handle EU citizens’ data. 

On the other hand, the Data Protection Act applies explicitly to the United Kingdom, governing the processing of personal data within the country.

Secondly, the level of detail provided varies. GDPR offers an extensive framework with detailed guidelines and requirements. It emphasises transparency, consent and individual rights, such as the right to erasure and access personal data. 

Although aligned with GDPR principles, the Data Protection Act provides additional specifics to accommodate the UK’s legal system and national requirements. Enforcement and penalties represent another notable distinction. GDPR imposes significantly higher fines, with penalties of up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s global turnover, whichever is higher.

The Data Protection Act allows fines of up to £17.5 million or 4% of global turnover. However, the maximum penalties are typically lower. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces both regulations.

Does Data Protection Act Apply to the UK?

Businesses operating within the UK must comply with the Data Protection Act to ensure the lawful processing of personal data and avoid penalties for non-compliance.

Following Brexit, the United Kingdom implemented the Data Protection Act 2018 to replace the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. This legislation ensures that the UK maintains a similar level of data protection as GDPR offers while tailoring it to the country’s specific requirements. 

Partner with Data Privacy Services for Expert Guidance

Understanding the differences between GDPR and the Data Protection Act is crucial for individuals and organisations handling personal data. Complying with both regulations is essential to ensure data protection and mitigate non-compliance risks.

For professional guidance and support in navigating data protection complexities and ensuring compliance with GDPR and the Data Protection Act, you can turn to Data Privacy Services. With a team of certified data privacy and information security professionals, we offer services tailored to the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and information security requirements.
Contact us to book a free consultation and discover how our dedicated experts can support your organisation in achieving full GDPR compliance.

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