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5 min read

Writen by Ana Mishova

Posted on: August 3, 2023

Making Sense of GDPR Article 27

GDPR. Article 27. EU representatives. If you’re confused about what they are and how they affect your UK business, we have some answers.

Understanding GDPR Article 27 and the Role of EU Representatives

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a crucial piece of legislation in safeguarding the data rights of individuals within the European Union (EU). Despite being an EU law, Article 3 of GDPR gives it trans-territorial effect, which means it applies anywhere and everywhere the data of EU residents is processed. That includes the UK. 

What is GDPR Article 27?
The challenge for the legislators drafting the GDPR was how do you ensure an EU law is enforceable worldwide if the organisation collecting or processing the data doesn’t have a physical presence in the EU? Article 27 of the GDPR was the answer. It stipulates that businesses outside the EU processing personal data of EU residents must designate an EU GDPR representative within an EU member state.

What does an EU GDPR representative do?
Your designated EU GDPR consultant will act as the intermediary between your UK business and supervisory authorities. In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the relevant authority but each EU member state has its own equivalent. The GDPR rep is responsible for maintaining records of data processing activities on your behalf. They’ll also manage (and translate) communications between data subjects, supervisory authorities and your business.

Do UK businesses need to comply with Article 27 post-Brexit?
If your business processes the personal data of EU residents while offering them goods or services – or if you monitor their behaviour – GDPR Article 27 applies to you. That applies equally to businesses in the UK or anywhere else.

What happens if you don’t appoint a European representative for GDPR?

Any non-compliance with any part of GDPR can result in a fine. At worst, fines can be as high as €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is higher. While not every fine will be so extreme, Meta’s $1.3 billion fine demonstrates that the GDPR really does have teeth. 

Appointing Your EU Representative

Who can be an EU representative?

Your EU GDPR representative must be based in one of the EU member states where your business processes personal data (although if the company collects data in multiple EU states, a single rep in one of them will do).

Your GDPR rep can be an individual or a legal entity, but they must have the expertise to handle data protection matters effectively. Many businesses choose to work with specialised legal or consulting firms, well-versed in GDPR, to ensure comprehensive compliance.

Why does your choice of GDPR consultancy matter?

The decision as to who will be your EU GDPR representative isn’t one to take lightly. The consequences of your GDPR rep’s actions can dramatically affect your business’ balance sheet, its reputation and its plans for growth within the EU.

Your GDPR EU representative should be in regular contact with your Data Processing Officer or other parts of your business, so it’s important to select a GDPR rep who shares your values and who you feel you can build an effective long-term relationship with.

Staying ahead of change

Data protection is an evolving area of law. As new technologies such as AI grow in prominence, we can expect the GDPR to change and it’s vital that every UK business stays informed about upcoming changes so they can stay compliant.

It’s important, therefore, that you choose an EU representative who isn’t simply content to help you apply the law as it stands, but who can also keep you up to date with the latest developments, ensuring your policies and procedures align with the most recent requirements.

Appoint your EU GDPR representative

If you process EU residents’ personal data, GDPR Article 27 compliance is a crucial aspect of data protection for your UK business. By understanding the significance of appointing an EU representative and staying informed about the ever-changing GDPR landscape, you can safeguard your business’s reputation and build trust with your customers.

Remember, compliance is not a one-time task but an ongoing commitment to data privacy and security. Your GDPR rep can help you meet that commitment.

Find the right EU GDPR consultant for you now, get data protection advice or, for questions about your next steps, call us on +44 1772 217800.

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