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Impacts of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation in Brazilian companies

By Paulo Brancher (partner) and Camila Taliberti (associate)

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR), approved in April 2016, will enter into force on May 25th, 2018 and will change the legal reality of companies that process personal data within the European Union territory or that deal with data from residents of the European Union.

The Regulation will replace Directive 95/46/EC, wrote in the 1990s, an incipient moment of the internet, in which various concepts – such as big data, cloud computing, behavioral marketing, applications and social networks – still did not exist. The main purpose of the GDPR is the protection of personal data with regard to new technologies, ensuring the free flow of such data, and, at the same time, transparency by those responsible for the processing of personal data, and control of European citizens about their own information.

Unlike the Directive — which established guidelines for each Member State of the European Union to adopt their own data-protection law –, the GDPR was developed aiming at harmonizing the data protection laws of the European Union countries, being binding and applicable to all Member States. On the other hand, the GDPR also ensures to the Member States a certain margin of autonomy to develop specific provisions to adapt the application of the rules provided by the Regulation.

One of the main aspects of the GDPR is the concern to protect the privacy of European citizens within an environment of globalization and internet-based economy that increasingly depends on data be supported (data driven economy). The business environment of the internet brings the peculiarity of mitigating conventional physical boundaries, producing great advantages for communication and electronic trade. However, the lack of boundaries of the digital world also presents a major challenge when it comes to the applicability of rules outside of a jurisdiction.