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What’s the meaning of DPO?

What is the meaning of DPO? What are their responsibilities? Does your business need a DPO?

In this post, we answer all these questions and more. Stick around to find out! 

Meaning of DPO

What does DPO stand for?

DPO stands for Data Protection Officer.

The primary responsibility of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) is to ensure that the personal data of their organization’s employees, customers, providers, or other individuals (also known as data subjects) is processed following the applicable data protection rules. 

As most business and website owners know, we are in an era fraught with the need to stay compliant. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has significantly changed how service providers and merchants use and share users’ data. As non-compliance can result in legal penalties and fines, organizations are going out of their way to keep within the regulations set by the GDPR

This is where those three letters come in. Nowadays, most companies have a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

More on data protection

This article is a part of our series on data protection. Read also:

👉 Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) template

Does your business need a DPO?

At a glance: 

  • If you are a public authority or entity, or if you carry out certain types of processing activities on EU citizens, the GDPR requires you to designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO).
  • DPOs support you in monitoring internal compliance, informing and advising you on your data protection obligations, Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs), and acting as a point of contact for data subjects and the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs).
  • The DPO must be self-sufficient, knowledgeable about data protection, well-resourced, and report to the highest levels of management.
  • A DPO can be a current employee or someone hired from outside.
  • In rare circumstances, a single DPO can be appointed by different organizations.
  • DPOs can assist you in demonstrating compliance and are an important component of the increased emphasis on responsibility.

The data protection officer is mandatory for some companies* that collect or process EU citizens’ personal data under Article 37 of GDPR. While it’s not compulsory for all, having a DPO officer is highly recommended. Choose a DPO based on their professional qualifications and in-depth understanding of data protection law and practices.

* If you are a public authority or entity, or if you carry out certain types of processing activities* on EU citizens. You can read more about the requirement in our GDPR Offline Compliance Duties article.

Specific types of processing activities, what does this mean?

  1. the core activities of the controller (or processor) consist of processing (on a large scale) sensitive data or personal data relating to criminal convictions and offenses;
  2. the core activities of the controller (or processor) consist of processing operations which require regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale.

The DPO reports directly to the top management and is given the necessary autonomy to carry out their duties. The DPO is involved in any matters relevant to protecting personal data. It’s important to ensure that any other jobs or responsibilities the DPO does, don’t interfere with their role as a DPO.

The DPO is responsible for ensuring that the GDPR and other data protection requirements are followed. As well as making sure data protection policies, training, and audits take place. The advice and information provided by the DPO on data protection requirements must be carefully considered. The DPO is the point of contact for data protection authorities. They work with data protection authorities on various issues, including prior Article 36 consultations, and will consult on any other topic. The DPO examines the risk associated with processing operations and the processing’s kind, scope, context, and purposes when performing their tasks.

As a point of contact for workers, individuals, and data protection authorities, the appointed DPO is immediately accessible. The DPO’s contact information is public and shared with data protection authorities.

What do I need to meet my legal requirements?

As each situation is unique, we invite you to complete the 1-minute quiz below to immediately identify which legal requirements most likely apply to you, what you need to do, and how iubenda can help.

Take this 1-minute quiz to get an immediate personalized answer on how iubenda can apply its instant magic for your legal requirements.

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