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LATVIA - Data Protection and GDPR Review


The history of data protection in Latvia, like that of many other countries, has evolved in response to technological advancements and societal needs. Latvia, a member of the European Union, has had its data protection landscape shaped significantly by EU laws and directives. Here is an overview:

Pre-EU Membership

Before joining the European Union in 2004, Latvia had its own national laws concerning data protection, some of which were initiated as part of the requirement to align its legislation with the EU's Acquis Communautaire, the body of EU law that candidate countries needed to adopt.

EU Data Protection Directive (1995)

Latvia, even before its EU membership, aimed to align its data protection laws with the European Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC) of 1995. This Directive was one of the earliest and most influential regulations shaping the way personal data was handled within the European Union. Latvia’s Data State Inspectorate was established in 2001 to supervise the processing of personal data, the legality of data protection, and to uphold the individual’s right to privacy.

EU Membership and Data Protection

Upon joining the EU in 2004, Latvia harmonized its data protection framework with EU regulations. This ensured that data could freely move between Latvia and other EU member states under a standardized data protection regime.

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on May 25, 2018, replacing the Data Protection Directive. This regulation provided stricter and more comprehensive rules on data protection. Like all EU member states, Latvia was required to implement GDPR. This led to significant changes in how organizations and businesses in Latvia handle personal data. The GDPR not only established requirements for data protection but also penalties for violations, thereby intensifying the need for compliance.

National Legislation Post-GDPR

In addition to the GDPR, Latvia has its own national legislation that complements EU regulations. The Personal Data Processing Law is Latvia’s national legislation designed to align with the GDPR and it applies to areas that fall outside the scope of EU law.

Future Trends

Issues such as data breaches, cyber-security, and the rise of artificial intelligence are likely to shape the future of data protection in Latvia. As technology continues to evolve, Latvia will likely continue to update its data protection regulations in response to both domestic and EU-wide developments.

Please note that the information might have changed after 2021, and it would be beneficial to consult current sources for the most recent updates.


Data protection in Latvia is governed by both EU and national laws. Since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, Latvia has aligned its national data protection framework with the EU-wide standard. This guide aims to offer an overview of how GDPR applies in Latvia and what individuals and organizations need to know.

Regulatory Authorities

European Data Protection Board (EDPB)

The EDPB is the EU-wide body responsible for ensuring consistent application of data protection rules across the European Union.

Data State Inspectorate of Latvia

This is the national body responsible for data protection in Latvia. The Data State Inspectorate supervises the application of data protection laws, handles complaints, and issues guidelines.

Key Concepts

Personal Data

Any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual.

Data Controller

The entity that determines why and how personal data is processed.

Data Processor

The entity that processes data on behalf of the Data Controller.

Data Subject

The individual whose personal data is being processed.

Consent

Explicit permission from the data subject to process their personal data.

Obligations for Data Controllers and Processors

Privacy Policy

Data controllers must have a privacy policy that explains how they process personal data.

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

Required for high-risk data processing activities.

Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Required for public authorities or organizations that process large volumes of sensitive data.

Record-Keeping

Data controllers and processors must keep records of data processing activities.

Security Measures

Implement security measures to safeguard personal data from unauthorized access or breaches.

Data Breach Notification

Data controllers must report data breaches to the Data State Inspectorate within 72 hours.

Individual Rights

Right to Access

Individuals have the right to know what data is being collected and how it is being processed.

Right to Rectification

Individuals have the right to correct any inaccurate or incomplete personal data.

Right to Erasure ('Right to be Forgotten')

Individuals can request the removal of their personal data under certain conditions.

Right to Object

Individuals have the right to object to the processing of their personal data for specific uses.

Right to Data Portability

Allows individuals to request a copy of their data to use for different services.

Enforcement and Penalties

Violations of GDPR can result in fines up to €20 million or 4% of the company's annual global turnover, whichever is higher.

Conclusion

Data protection in Latvia is largely governed by the GDPR but is also supplemented by national laws. Compliance is not just a legal obligation but also an essential aspect of consumer trust and business integrity. Given the changing technological landscape, staying abreast of the latest rules and guidelines is critical for both individuals and organizations.

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