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GDPR Compliance in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection law enacted by the European Union to safeguard individuals' privacy and personal data.

GDPR sets a high standard for data protection and imposes strict guidelines on data collection, storage, and processing, ensuring transparency, security, and accountability.

According to the GDPR website, "GDPR is an essential step to strengthen citizens' fundamental rights in the digital age and facilitate business by simplifying rules for companies in the digital single market."

It builds on the previous data privacy legislation (Data Protection Directive 95/46/C) that has existed since 1995 and made it more modern. However, technology has evolved rapidly in the past year, with an explosion of artificial intelligence, generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs). 

This calls into question whether businesses can use data within the application of these new technologies, while complying with data protection laws. 

Consequences of Not Complying with GDPR

Non-compliance with GDPR can result in severe penalties, including fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the company's global annual revenue, whichever is higher.

Beyond financial penalties, non-compliance can lead to significant reputational damage, loss of customer trust and legal actions. 

Supervisory authorities across Europe have issued a total of €1.78 billion in fines since 28 January 2023. Examples include:

  • The Italian data protection authority, the Garante, issued its largest GDPR fine of over €79 million against ENEL Energia for telemarketing misconduct. It failed to assess risks associated with its CRM interface and implement adequate measures to secure access credentials.

  •  TikTok was fined €345 million after the Irish Data Protection Commission found that TikTok set children's accounts to public by default, failing to protect personal data and ensure data security for young users.

Adherence to GDPR is not only a legal necessity but also a critical aspect of maintaining business integrity and customer relationships.

Why Data Protection is Essential for Legal and Procurement Professionals

For legal and procurement professionals, especially in regulated industries like biotech, vendor and contract data protection is paramount.

These professionals handle highly sensitive information, including proprietary research, contracts, and vendor details, making them prime targets for data breaches.

For example, biotech organisations often deal with sensitive patient data, research results, and proprietary information that, if compromised, could lead to significant financial loss, legal consequences, and damage to their reputation.

Ensuring data security maintains client and partner trust and complies with stringent regulatory requirements. It allows businesses to avoid severe penalties and safeguard organisational integrity.


The Threats Posed to Data via Generative AI

The advent of AI has revolutionised how data is processed and utilised. While AI offers numerous benefits, it also introduces new challenges for data protection, particularly under regulations like GDPR.

AI systems process vast amounts of data, often in ways that are not immediately transparent, increasing the risk of non-compliance.

The complexity and scale of AI-driven data processing require robust measures to ensure data privacy and protection, making adherence to regulations like GDPR even more critical.

Risks posed by data processing via AI include: 

  • Data Leakage: AI systems can inadvertently expose confidential information during processing.
  • Bias Amplification: AI can perpetuate and amplify existing biases in data, leading to unfair outcomes.
  • Deepfakes: Generative AI can create realistic but fake documents, emails, or identities, complicating verification processes.
  • Unauthorised Data Access: Poorly managed AI systems might grant access to sensitive data to unauthorised users.
  • Data Poisoning: Malicious actors can corrupt training data, causing AI systems to make incorrect or harmful decisions.

How Gatekeeper Helps Businesses Remain Compliant with GDPR

Through its partnership with Microsoft, Gatekeeper leverages advanced AI tools while ensuring compliance with GDPR. Microsoft's robust security measures and AI principles help Gatekeeper provide secure, transparent, and compliant VCLM solutions.

Gatekeeper incorporates generative AI to enhance vendor and contract lifecycle management by automating data extraction and summarising key clauses. This technology streamlines processes, reduces manual errors, and ensures that sensitive data is handled with the highest level of security and compliance.

Gatekeeper chooses to partner with Microsoft due to its six key AI principles—fairness, reliability, safety, privacy, security, and inclusiveness. They align with GDPR's Article 5 which emphasises lawful, fair, and transparent data processing, data minimisation, accuracy, storage limitation and integrity. 

Below, we look at the specific GDPR articles and how partnering with Microsoft protects Gatekeeper customers

  • Data Subject Rights (Articles 15-21): Microsoft’s tools support data subject rights by enabling access, rectification, erasure, and portability of personal data. They offer mechanisms for businesses to manage these requests efficiently.
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments (Article 35):  Microsoft aids in conducting Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) to identify and mitigate risks associated with data processing activities, especially those involving AI.
  • International Data Transfers (Articles 44-50): Microsoft ensures compliant international data transfers by using mechanisms like Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) and Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs), safeguarding data across borders.


By integrating these measures and creating an ethical AI partnership, Microsoft and Gatekeeper help businesses navigate the complexities of GDPR, ensuring their AI and data processing activities are secure, transparent, and compliant.

This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of human error. Gatekeeper's partnership with Microsoft allows customers to use AI to quickly analyse and summarise contract data while remaining compliant with GDPR.The partnership ultimately empowers Gatekeeper customers to streamline their vendor and contract management processes, improve accuracy, and maintain high standards of data privacy and security.

Ian Bryce
Ian Bryce

Ian writes on a variety of topics, bringing together his own knowledge and experience with that of industry experts.


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