Let the ‘Ten Commandments’ (of Fair Information) set you free

In our latest blog we added a sense of perspective to the fuss regarding the GDPR and the feelings of anxiety it is causing. We would like to elaborate a little on that by reassuring you that there is no need to immediately start spending large sums of money on protection tools and (opportunistic) consultants. In fact, it all starts with awareness and day-to-day behavior which, in essence, comes for free. And guess what? Data governance rules to abide by have already existed for years, known as the Fair Information Principles.

Ongoing commitment

These ten internationally recognized privacy principles, we like to refer to as the ‘Ten Commandments’, are the foundation of many national and international laws, regulations and treaties. Simply passing them on to employees by email or memo won’t do. We’ve all been there before. It takes ongoing commitment from both management and staff to really make it work. Applying pop-up or alert boxes at strategic places and moments in data processing may come in handy too. So here they are:

  1. “There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.”
  2. “Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up-to-date.”
  3. “The purposes for which personal data are collected _should be specified_ not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfillment of those purposes.”
  4. “Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with [purpose specification principle] except:a) with the consent of the data subject;b) by the authority of law."
  5. “Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data.”
  6. “There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available of establishing the existence and nature of personal data and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller.”
  7. “An individual should have the right: a) To obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to him; b) to have communicated to him, data relating to him within a reasonable time, at a charge, if any, that is not excessive in a reasonable manner; and in a form that is readily intelligible to him; c) to be given reasons if a request made under (a) or (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial; and d) to challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.”
  8. “A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above.”
  9. “Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.”
  10. “Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the EEA unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.”

For an in-depth explanation of how to embed them within your organization, please contact our DPO (Data Protection Officer) team via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please bear in mind that, unlike breaches of the biblical commandments, data protection authorities will be less forgiving…