West Texas A&M University

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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Overview

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data privacy law that applies to personal information collected in or from the European Union and European Economic Area.  West Texas A&M University respects your privacy and is committed to ensuring that any personal or confidential information that is collected is kept accurate and secure from unauthorized access. Personal information that you provide via email or through other online means will be used only for purposes necessary to serve your needs, such as responding to an inquiry or other request for information.

Personal data is broadly defined and is comprised of any information relating to an identified or identifiable person and includes name, identification number, location data, online identifier, or to one or more factors specific to the physical, psychological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.  Examples of personal data include: name, photo, email address, identification number, physical address or other location data, IP address or other online identifier. Additionally, the GDPR provides additional protections for sensitive personal data that includes: racial and ethnic origin, health, genetic/biometric, religion, sexual orientation, political views.

Legal Basis for Processing

Whenever the University’s uses personal data, it must have a legal basis for doing so. Data protection legislation gives the University a list of possible legal bases that include the following:

  • To perform a task in the public interest or in official authority.
  • To comply with a data controller's legal obligations.
  • To fulfill contractual obligations with a data subject.
  • To perform tasks at the request of a data subject who is in the process of entering into a contract with the controller.
  • To protect the vital interests of a data subject or another person.
  • For the legitimate interests of a data controller or a third party.

Consent

The conditions for consent have been strengthened, and organizations will no longer be able to use long illegible terms and conditions full of legalese, as the request for consent must be given in an intelligible and easily accessible form, with the purpose for data processing attached to that consent. Consent must be clear and distinguishable from other matters and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.​

Retention

Your information will be retained by West Texas A&M University in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, and the retention periods established by the West Texas A&M University records retention policy. Your information will be destroyed upon your request unless applicable law requires destruction after the expiration of an applicable retention period. The manner of destruction shall be appropriate to preserve and ensure the confidentiality of your information given the level of sensitivity, value and criticality to the University.

GDPR Data Subject Rights

Breach Notification.  Under the GDPR, breach notification will become mandatory in all member states where a data breach is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. This must be done within 72 hours of first having become aware of the breach. Data processors will also be required to notify their customers, the controllers, “without undue delay” after first becoming aware of a data breach.

Right to Access. Part of the expanded rights of data subjects outlined by the GDPR is the right for data subjects to obtain from the data controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose. Further, the controller shall provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format. This change is a dramatic shift to data transparency and empowerment of data subjects.

Right to be Forgotten. Also known as Data Erasure, the right to be forgotten entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data. The conditions for erasure, as outlined in article 17, include the data no longer being relevant to original purposes for processing, or a data subjects withdrawing consent. It should also be noted that this right requires controllers to compare the subjects' rights to "the public interest in the availability of the data" when considering such requests.

Data Portability. GDPR introduces data portability - the right for a data subject to receive the personal data concerning them, which they have previously provided in a 'commonly use and machine readable format' and have the right to transmit that data to another controller.

Privacy by Design. Privacy by design as a concept has existed for years now, but it is only just becoming part of a legal requirement with the GDPR. At its core, privacy by design calls for the inclusion of data protection from the onset of the designing of systems, rather than an addition. More specifically, the controller shall implement appropriate technical and organizational measures in an effective way in order to meet the requirements of this Regulation and protect the rights of data subjects. Article 23 calls for controllers to hold and process only the data absolutely necessary for the completion of its duties (data minimization), as well as limiting the access to personal data to those needing to act out the processing.

Information Gathered by WTAMU

Personal information that you provide via email or through other online means will be used only for purposes necessary to serve your needs, such as responding to an inquiry or other request for information. This may involve redirecting your inquiry or comment to another person or department better suited to meeting your needs. Our site does use server logs to collect information concerning your internet connection and general information about your visit  to our website. This information may be used to analyze trends; to create summary statistics for the purpose of determining technical design specifications; and to identify system performance or problem areas.This means we sometimes acquire, record, and analyze portions of the data that is entered into, stored on, and/or transmitted through this site by you. This information is only released – when legally required – to help law enforcement investigations, legal proceedings or internal investigations of WTAMU rule and regulation violations. These groups would use the information to track the electronic interactions back to the source computer(s) or account(s).

Cookies

A cookie file contains unique information that a website can use to track such things as passwords, pages you have visited, the date you last looked at a specific page, and to identify your session at a particular website. We do not use cookies to track or collect any information that could personally identify individual visitors.

Server Log Information

The following information is collected from server logs for analysis. Note that other servers across campus might collect different data elements.

  • User/client hostname - The hostname (or IP address if DNS is disabled) of the user/client requesting access
  • HTTP header, "user agent" - The user-agent information includes the type of browser, its version, and the operating system it is running on
  • HTTP header, "referrer" - The referrer specifies the page from which the client accessed the current page
  • System date - The date and time of the user/client request
  • Full request - The exact request the user/client made
  • Status - The status code the server returned to the user/client
  • Content length - The content length, in bytes, of the document sent to the user/client
  • Method - The request method used
  • Universal Resource Identifier (URI) - The location of a resource on the server
  • Query string of the URI - Anything after the question mark in a URI
  • Protocol - The transport protocol and version used

Additional Resources

EU GDPR Portal
Information Commissioner's Office Guide to the GDPR
Protection of Personal Data in the EU – Fact Sheet


Questions related to the EU GDPR should be directed to the University's Data Protection Officer @ gdpr@wtamu.edu.