What are the Key 7 Principles of GDPR Regulation?

what is GDPR regulation

7 Principles of GDPR Regulation



You may be aware of the GDPR Regulation which is the most popular and stringent international data privacy law established in the EU.

It is a landmark data privacy law established to ensure organizations make efforts towards ensuring the security and privacy of consumer data.

The regulation applies to every organization that collects, processes, or stores the personal data of EU citizens.

The law is designed to provide consumers or rather the citizens of the EU more control over the use of their personal data.

Covering the regulation we have outlined the 7 key principles of GDPR regulation that form the base of the GDPR Compliance program.

Read about the 7 principles listed below to understand the purpose and objective of the regulation.



Explaining the Key Principles of GDPR Regulation

The 7 principles of GDPR form the core of the data privacy law. These key principles work as a guide for meeting the GDPR requirements and achieving compliance.

So, understanding these principles is essential for organizations to meet the requirements and achieve GDPR Compliance.


Principle 1 – Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency

GDPR requires that the processing of personal data be done lawfully and in complete fairness and transparency.

Lawfulness means that the processing of data is done with consent from the consumers or data subject without any ambiguity.

The organization must also be transparent about the process of collecting, storing, and processing their personal data.

Transparency is the key element of these principles that promotes the rights of the data subject and facilitates informed consent accordingly.

The data subject must be informed about how, where, and why their data is being processed and the time period for data processing.

They also have the right to be aware of who will have access to their data.

The entire process of collecting, storing, and processing personal data must be done in accordance with the law, fulfilling all the legal obligations and protecting the interest of the data subject.

Organizations are clear, open, and honest with data subjects about processing their personal data in all fairness.


Principle 2- Purpose Limitation

GDPR Regulation includes the principle of purpose limitation which means the data should only be collected for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes.

The purpose for collecting and processing personal data should be well-defined, explicit, and legitimate. Once the data is collected, it cannot be used for any other purpose than what was defined earlier.

The purpose of collecting the data cannot be altered at a later stage unless the organization takes explicit consent from the data subject for the same.

It is however important to note that if the additional processing aligns with the primary process, you may be permitted to use that data. But if the additional processing is entirely for a different purpose, then in that case you will need to take consent, and explain the purpose.

The principle or requirement aims at ensuring that organizations are transparent about the reasons for obtaining personal data and that the process is in alignment and within the scope of the data subject’s rights over their personal data.

Moreover, specifying the purposes ensures accountability, transparency, fairness, and lawful processing.


Principle 3- Data Minimization

GDPR clearly states that the personal data collected for processing should be adequate, relevant, and only to the extent to which it is necessary

The organization is required to justify its purpose of collecting the data and have the necessary documentation for it.

Data minimization is about collecting just enough data required to meet the specific purpose defined by the organization.

GDPR Articles 5(1) (c) specifies that personal data shall be: “adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for relation to the purposes for which they are processed (data minimization)”.

So, to ensure that the personal data collected is in alignment with Article 5 (1) (c) the organization should develop a relevant adequate policy and document it.


Principle 4- Accuracy

GDPR requires that the Personal data must be kept “accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date” as per Article 5 (1) (d).

The organization must ensure that you do not retain any old and outdated contacts and ensure delete all inaccurate data without delay. Withholding inaccurate data of any individual turns out to be a violation of GDPR regulation.

So, the organization must develop a data update policy to ensure the data collected are accurate and updated from time to time.

Regular audits are also required to ensure the data is updated and accurate.

Further to this, the data subject holds the right to request updating or rectification of the inaccurate data from the database or even the right to erase the data.


Principle 5- Storage Limitation

GDPR Article 5 (1) (e) requires that the data collected be “kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed”.

For this, organizations need to have in place a process that ensures that the data collected are not stored more than the period required and the purpose for which they were collected.

Further, there should be a proper data deletion process in place that ensures the data doesn’t store longer than required.

The organization is required to justify the period for which the data would be stored and the data subject must also be aware of the storage limitation period.

The organization should also have data retention or a storage limitation policy in place for complying with the requirement


Principle 6- Integrity & Confidentiality

 The principle of Integrity & Confidentiality requires that the organization stores and processes personal data that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction, or damage.

This can be achieved by using appropriate technical measures such as pseudonymization to protect the identity of clients.

GDPR requires that the organization should have appropriate levels of security in place to address various risks and threats posed by their processing activity to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data.


Principle 7- Accountability

Organizations are expected to take responsibility for the data they collect store and process. They are expected to demonstrate compliance with the other principles and ensure they have taken all the necessary measures to protect their personal data.

Organizations need to document and show evidence of the measures taken by them to ensure the security and privacy of the data.

For this, they are required to have in place policies and processes that facilitate regular audits and checks of systems and processes established around securing personal data.

Documentation is the key here to the audit process that provides evidence to authorities and proves their responsibility towards securing personal data.



GDPR compliance serves to protect and ensure the privacy of customers’ personal data. Adhering to these principles at the stage of planning and implementation of measures will help organizations achieve compliance with GDPR.

Although the regulation is much more than these principles, they serve as a guiding process to implement measures and achieve compliance.

So, understand these principles that form the base of the GDPR Compliance and adopt the best practices for data processing and security.

This goes a long way in helping you achieve compliance with the regulation.


See alsoWhat is Internet Safety? How can we achieve e-Safety?



Narendra Sahoo (PCI QSA, PCI QPA, PCI SSLCA, PCI SSFA, CISA, CISSP, CRISC, CEH, and ISO27001 LA.) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec, a global Information Security Consulting firm based in the United States, Singapore & India.


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