What is the GDPR consent policy?

The GDPR Consent Policy refers to the set of rules established by the European Union (EU) to regulate how businesses obtain and handle individuals’ consent for collecting and processing their personal data. It is an integral part of the GDPR framework, designed to safeguard individuals’ privacy rights and grant them greater control over their personal information.

Key concepts of GDPR’s consent policy

Personal Data: Any information relating to an identifiable person, such as a name, email address, phone number, or other unique identifiers.

Consent: Voluntary, informed, and unambiguous agreement given by an individual to allow the processing of their personal data for specific purposes. Consent must be actively given, not assumed or implied, and can be withdrawn at any time.

  • Consent cannot be obtained through pre-ticked boxes or other forms of “opt-out” consent.
  • Consent is not valid if it is obtained under duress or coercion.
  • Businesses must take steps to ensure that consent is obtained from the individual themselves, and not from a third party.

Processing: Any operation or set of operations performed on personal data, such as:

  • Collection
  • Recording
  • Organization
  • Structuring
  • Storage
  • Adaptation
  • Alteration
  • Retrieval
  • Consultation
  • Use
  • Disclosure
  • Erasure
  • Destruction.

Data Controller: The entity that determines the purposes and means of processing personal data. It has the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the GDPR and obtaining valid consent.

Data Processor: An individual or organization that processes personal data on behalf of the data controller. Processors must follow the instructions provided by the data controller and maintain appropriate security measures.

Key principles of GDPR’s consent policy

Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency: Businesses must obtain consent in a transparent and honest manner, ensuring individuals understand what personal data is being collected and how it will be used.

Purpose limitation: Consent should be obtained for specific, explicit, and legitimate purposes. Businesses should not collect more data than necessary for those purposes.

Data minimization: Businesses should collect only the personal data required to fulfill the specified purposes. Unnecessary or excessive data collection should be avoided.

Consent clarity: Consent requests should be presented in clear and plain language, easily understandable by the individual. The purpose of data processing should be explicitly stated.

Granularity: Businesses should provide individuals with options to consent to different processing activities separately whenever feasible.

Withdrawal of consent: Individuals have the right to withdraw their consent at any time, and businesses must make it easy for them to do so.

Records of consent: Businesses should maintain records to demonstrate that valid consent has been obtained, including information about what individuals were told and how they consented.

Implications for businesses

Consent collection: Businesses must implement user-friendly consent mechanisms that enable individuals to give or withhold consent easily.

Privacy policies: Privacy policies should be updated to provide comprehensive information on data processing activities and how consent is obtained.

Data protection impact assessments (DPIAs): DPIAs should be conducted to assess the potential risks and impacts of data processing activities, especially those involving sensitive data.

Third-party processing: Businesses must ensure that any third parties with whom they share personal data comply with GDPR requirements and have appropriate consent mechanisms in place.

Data subject rights: Businesses must respect individuals’ rights, such as the right to access, rectify, or erase their personal data, as well as the right to restrict or object to its processing.


The GDPR Consent Policy is an essential aspect of the broader GDPR framework. While it may be confusing to marketing teams, it is in place to protect the personal data of users and fight back against the unlawful gathering and selling of personal data.

When it comes to your cookie banners or website forms, always ensure that you ask users for consent to access their personal data. Use an opt-in on your forms and ensure that users can have their data removed upon request.

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