Data Protection Officer

What Does Data Protection Officer Mean?

A data protection officer (DPO) is a position within a company that is responsible for certain data compliance standards. In many ways, the position of data protection officer was created by a European Union regulation called the General Data Protection Regulation – however, data protection officers may have other responsibilities in addition to enforcing compliance with GDPR.


Techopedia Explains Data Protection Officer

Part of the GDPR mandate is that a company must have a data protection officer to ensure that the company is compliant in handling the data of European Union residents. Even though the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, its citizens are still covered by the GDPR.

Companies are hiring data protection officers in order to comply with the GDPR, but are often giving them additional responsibilities. As in a job advertisement for a DPO at IBM, data protection officers are often asked to enforce compliance with other privacy standards, including U.S. regulations and private sector standards that are self-imposed. The full-time DPO becomes a kind of general compliance officer for privacy and data protection. Part of the job role would involve looking at security infrastructures such as encryption and identifying whether sufficient protection standards are in place.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.