After more than two years of preparations, public debates and consultations between different stakeholders, the Parliament of North Macedonia passed the new Law on Personal Data Protection (“Law”) on 16 February 2020. This game-changing piece of legislation introduces the GDPR in the local regulatory framework and it is already in force as of 24 February but controllers and processors will have the next 18 months to align and ensure compliance of their businesses with the new regime or face the new and severe penalty policy.
What needs be outlined?
One of the key novelties is the wider scope of the application of the Law, with an obligation for the locally based controllers and processors to apply the Law regardless of whether the data processing happens within or outside the borders of North Macedonia. More importantly, foreign entities also must follow the local requirements if the data processing covers the offering of goods or services (even free of charge) to or monitoring the behaviour of individuals from North Macedonia.
There are drastic changes when it comes to the penalties, considering the new fines in the amount up to 2% and up to 4% of the total annual turnover from the previous financial year. Additionally, the Law stipulates a fine in the range between EUR 1,000 and 10,000 for controllers (legal entities) who do not follow the requirements for video surveillance. Finally, there are smaller fines of several hundred euros for the responsible persons at the infringer and the controllers and processors who are natural persons.
A number of other changes concern the data protection authority, which is now an Agency for Personal Data Protection, the Central Registry of Personal Data Collections, the cross-border processing, the notifying obligations, etc.
From this perspective, 24 August 2021 as the end date for harmonisation of the processing activities might seem far away; however, all-around measures can arise only from proper and well-timed assessments. Hence, the sooner the companies start with the necessary preparations the better. During the same period, the Agency will be quite busy with adapting its activities and enacting the necessary secondary legislation.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.
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