Article 30 GDPR

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Article 30 - Records of processing activities
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Chapter 10: Delegated and implementing acts

Legal Text[edit | edit source]


Article 30 - Records of processing activities


1. Each controller and, where applicable, the controller's representative, shall maintain a record of processing activities under its responsibility. That record shall contain all of the following information:

(a) the name and contact details of the controller and, where applicable, the joint controller, the controller's representative and the data protection officer;
(b) the purposes of the processing;
(c) a description of the categories of data subjects and of the categories of personal data;
(d) the categories of recipients to whom the personal data have been or will be disclosed including recipients in third countries or international organisations;
(e) where applicable, transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation, including the identification of that third country or international organisation and, in the case of transfers referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 49(1), the documentation of suitable safeguards;
(f) where possible, the envisaged time limits for erasure of the different categories of data;
(g) where possible, a general description of the technical and organisational security measures referred to in Article 32(1).

2. Each processor and, where applicable, the processor's representative shall maintain a record of all categories of processing activities carried out on behalf of a controller, containing:

(a) the name and contact details of the processor or processors and of each controller on behalf of which the processor is acting, and, where applicable, of the controller's or the processor's representative, and the data protection officer;
(b) the categories of processing carried out on behalf of each controller;
(c) where applicable, transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation, including the identification of that third country or international organisation and, in the case of transfers referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 49(1), the documentation of suitable safeguards;
(d) where possible, a general description of the technical and organisational security measures referred to in Article 32(1).

3. The records referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be in writing, including in electronic form.

4. The controller or the processor and, where applicable, the controller's or the processor's representative, shall make the record available to the supervisory authority on request.

5. The obligations referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not apply to an enterprise or an organisation employing fewer than 250 persons unless the processing it carries out is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, the processing is not occasional, or the processing includes special categories of data as referred to in Article 9(1) or personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences referred to in Article 10.

Relevant Recitals[edit | edit source]

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Commentary[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

Article 30 GDPR describes the obligation to maintain a record of processing activities. This means that each controller and processor has to establish a record and include each processing activity that concerns personal data. The definition of processing activities corresponds with the one of processing in Article 4 (no. 2) GDPR. Systematically the stipulation goes hand in hand with the principles and obligations stated in Article 5, 6, 12. GDPR.[1] Only when a record of processing activities exists, principles such as transparency, purpose, data minimization, accuracy, storage limitation and accountability etc., can be realized. It serves as self-control mechanism to assess what kind of processing activities are at stake.[2] Moreover, Data Protection Impact Assessments (“DPIA”) are included in these records to legitimize the respective processing activity, in particular if there is a high risk for personal data. Therefore, also technical and organizational measures have to be mentioned.

Above that, when either a data subjects enforces its rights (Article 12 GDPR) or when a data protection authority requests it (Article 24 (1) GDPR), all activities can easily be explained. In particular, a record of data processing activities is useful and eases the process of giving a data subject the information that have been asked for. The record can also help in drafting and keeping the privacy policy up to date.

The record of processing activities serves as an accountability instrument for the data protection authority to assess compliance. However, it also supports the controller in assessing its own processing as well as the one carried out by possible external processors.

Article 30 (1) GDPR[edit | edit source]

The obligation to record processing activities lays with the controller and not with the data protection officer.

Activities which have to be included in the non-exhaustive list are the following: (1) The name and contact details of the controller and related parties; (2) The purposes of the processing; (3) A description of the categories of data subjects and of the categories of personal data; (4) The categories of recipients; (5) Transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation and, in the case of the applicability of Article 49(1), the documentation of suitable safeguards; (6) A data deletion concept; (7) A general description of the technical and organisational security measures referred to in Article 32(1).

Article 30 (2) GDPR[edit | edit source]

The processor has the obligations to record (1) The name and contact details of the controller on behalf of which the processor is acting; (2) The categories of processing carried out on behalf of each controller; (3) Transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation and, in the case of the applicability of Article 49(1), the documentation of suitable safeguards; (4) A general description of the technical and organisational security measures referred to in Article 32(1).

Regarding the safeguards of Article 49 (1) GDPR, some companies might turn to this article, after the EU-US Privacy Shield has been invalidated by the European Court of Justice in Schrems II[3]. However, they need to justify their choice of derogation in the records of data processing.

Article 30 (3) GDPR[edit | edit source]

The records shall be in writing; this includes as well electronic formats. Chambers of Commerce as well as supervisory authorities in the EU provide for templates in pdf and word formats. In general, these records shall include processing activities, applications, responsible persons (“owners of data”) which is connected with the organizational structure of the respective company/organisation.

The obligation to keep the record up to date is not expressly regulated in the GDPR. However, if the record is not kept up to date, it is not possible to comply with the principles of transparency etc. and to provide the data protection authority with such records when requested.[4] Moreover, the accountability to keep it up to date does not lay with the data protection officer, but with the representative of the respective enterprise or organization.[5]

In addition, this leads to the question, whether the record needs to be electronically or has at least to provide for a timestamp, which is easier to trace in an electronic format. This means changes that have been made to the record need to be available to show ongoing compliance. Due to the principle of accountability (Article 5 (2) GDPR), changes have to be transparent and traceable, e.g. who has been the controller/processor or data protection officer etc. at a certain point in time.[6] This kind of documentation of changes should be kept for a certain amount of time.[7]

Article 30 (4) GDPR[edit | edit source]

The supervisory authorities can assess companies and organisations as general control measure, but also in case of data breaches and complaints of data subjects. This is why a records of processing activities needs to be available at any time to provide the supervisory authority with it upon request.

Article 30 (5) GDPR - Exceptions[edit | edit source]

An enterprise or an organisation employing less than 250 persons is not obliged to implement the record of processing. However, the obligation becomes applicable if such an organization carries out processing that is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, the processing is not occasional, or the processing includes special categories of data (Article 9(1) GDPR) or personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences referred to in Article 10.


[1] Hartung in Kühling/Buchner, DS-GVO, BDSG, Kommentar, 2nd edition, 2018, Art. 30 para 11.

[2] Hartung in Kühling/Buchner, DS-GVO, BDSG, Kommentar, 2nd edition, 2018, Art. 30 para 12.

[3] ECJ, case C-311/18, 16 July 2020, ECLI:EU:C:2020:559.

[4]  Hartung in Kühling/Buchner, DS-GVO, BDSG, Kommentar, 2nd edition, 2018, Art. 30 para 31.

[5]  Hartung in Kühling/Buchner, DS-GVO, BDSG, Kommentar, 2nd edition, 2018, Art. 30 para 31.

[6] DSK, Datenchutzkonferenz, Hinweise zum Verzeichnis von Verarbeitungstätigkeiten, Art. 30 DS-GVO, p. 3, https://www.ldi.nrw.de/mainmenu_Datenschutz/submenu_Datenschutzbeauftragte/Inhalt/Behoerdliche_Datenschutzbeauftragte/Inhalt/Das-Verarbeitungsverzeichnis-nach-Artikel-30-DS-GVO/Hinweise-zum-Verzeichnis-von-Verarbeitungstaetigkeiten.pdf accessed on 01.10.2020, 15:23.

[7] DSK, Datenchutzkonferenz, Hinweise zum Verzeichnis von Verarbeitungstätigkeiten, Art. 30 DS-GVO, p. 3, https://www.ldi.nrw.de/mainmenu_Datenschutz/submenu_Datenschutzbeauftragte/Inhalt/Behoerdliche_Datenschutzbeauftragte/Inhalt/Das-Verarbeitungsverzeichnis-nach-Artikel-30-DS-GVO/Hinweise-zum-Verzeichnis-von-Verarbeitungstaetigkeiten.pdf accessed on 01.10.2020, 15:23.

Decisions[edit | edit source]

→ You can find all related decisions in Category:Article 30 GDPR

References[edit | edit source]