Lawful Basis: Public Task

The public task is applicable when personal data processing is required in the exercise of official authority or when the law allows it in the public interest.

It is most relevant to public authorities, but it can apply to any organisation that exercises official authority or carries out tasks in the public interest.
A specific statutory power is not required to process personal data, but the underlying task, function or power must have a clear basis in law.
The processing must be necessary. If the task can be reasonably perform ed or the powers exercised in a less intrusive way, this lawful basis does not apply.
As always, the action should be documented for justification about the why and how the personal data was gathered and processed and, if relevant, the individuals should be informed.

What are public interests?

As stated in Article 6(1)(e), “processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller”

When is it applied?

Its application is mainly driven by law. When the law lays down a specific task in the public interest or when an official authority exercise is required, such as a public body’s tasks, functions, duties or powers. This covers public functions and powers that are set out in law.

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Lawful Basis: Contract

There is a lawful basis for personal data processing when the personal data of an individual is required to fulfill a contract obligation or when the individual asks an organization to do something before entering in a contract.
This does not apply when it is reasonably possible to achieve the same goal without processing the personal data.
As always, the action should be documented for justification about the why and how the personal data was gathered and processed.

Contracts

When the personal data processing is required for a contract with an individual, a separate consent is not required.
This is quite simple and straightforward.

When in a special category data is necessary for the contract, then it is also required to identify a separate condition for processing this data.

When the contract is with a child under 18, the organization must consider whether they have the necessary competence to enter into the contract. When in doubt, another lawful basis could be applied, for instance, legitimate interests if it demonstrates that the child’s rights and interests are properly considered and protected.

Rights

When personal data is being processed on the basis of contract, the individual’s right to object and the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing does not apply. However, the individual has the right to data portability.

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Basis for Personal Data Processing

GDPR enforces organizations to have a valid lawful basis in order to process personal data.
There are six lawful bases, all equal in importance, though the selection of which basis is the most appropriate to use will depend on the organization purpose and its relationship with people.

The lawful basis must be determined before the data processing begins because it should be documented along with the purposes of the data processing, and included in the privacy notice accepted by the individuals. This makes it clear for the people to know what they are consenting.

If the purposes change, unless it is compatible with the initial purpose, it will require a change of the lawful basis, and it could be necessary to redo the processes of documentation, consenting, etc..

Lawful Bases for Data Processing

The six lawful bases for personal data processing are defined in Article 6:

  • the data subject has given consent to the processing of their personal data for one or more specific purposes;
  • processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;
  • processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;
  • processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject;
  • processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;
  • processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by a controller, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child. This shall not apply to processing carried out by public authorities in the performance of their tasks.

Processing activities that fall under performance of a contract, legal obligation, vital interests and public task may be fairly straight-forward to identify. The key for many will be assessing whether Consent or Legitimate Interests will be most appropriate for specific processing of personal information.

Processing Special Category Data

When processing special category data organizations need to identify both a lawful basis for the general processing and an additional condition for processing this type of data.

Criminal Data Processing

When processing criminal conviction data, or data about offenses, it is necessary to identify both a lawful basis for general processing and an additional condition for processing this type of data.

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