Team of the month 11/18: GDPR

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in the EU and Austria on May 25, 2018, bringing comprehensive changes to data protection legislation. The project team “Implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation” developed legal and technical solutions to ensure that the ways in which WU processes personal data are compliant with the new law. Stefan Benzinger, Irene Fellner, Katharina Hammer, Andreas Krasa, Karl Langenberger, Annette Lichtmannegger, Katharina Mifek / Katharina Müller-Weismann, Peter Mika, Reingard Schneider, Oskar Schöpf and Martina Wolkensteiner, acting as sub-project heads under the direction of Katharina Hammer from the Legal Affairs Office, were responsible for the implementation of the GDPR at WU. In recognition of their hard work, they have been selected as our November Team of the Month.

The staff of the Legal Affairs Office and IT-SERVICES began setting up the project structure and documenting the status quo and action areas at WU in January 2017. The result was a project structure with a total of 19 sub-projects, made up of eleven legal sub-projects and eight technical sub-projects, with the common goal of preparing WU for the implementation of the new data protection legislation. “One sub-project, for example, focuses on the topic of obtaining consent, another on informational activities and in-house workshops on data protection,” explains project head Katharina Hammer.

WU’s Data Protection Officer Georg Fellner was closely involved in the implementation process. He was consulted in numerous meetings on a variety of different legal aspects of data protection and worked with sub-project heads to plan the best way forward.
Kristina Grandits provided both active support and input to the project head. Reporting and basic decision-making steps were part of regularly scheduled Steering Board meetings with Annette Lichtmannegger from the Legal Affairs Office, Georg Miksch from IT-SERVICES, and the Vice-Rectors for Human Resources and Research.

The GDPR represents a new legal framework for the field of data protection, and both academic and service units are affected. The project team’s goal was to prepare for the changes brought about by the GDPR in such a way that WU’s organizational units could be provided with practical support on key legal and technical aspects of the new law’s implementation. The team also had the objective of ensuring the highest possible level of consistency in the way all WU employees handle and process personal data.

The project also included a number of awareness-raising measures intended to help familiarize WU staff members with the GDPR and what it entails. “We compiled a set of uniform guidelines on core GDPR issues in the individual sub-projects,” says Katharina Hammer. “These are available to all WU employees online on the GDPR page of the WU intranet.”

The new legal situation requires numerous changes to existing workflows and will continue to accompany WU staff members in their daily business. The “Implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation” project has laid the foundation for the GDPR-compliant processing of personal data at WU; the further development of this area is a continuous process that will require the participation of all WU faculty and staff.