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Navigating the Landscape of GDPR Assessments: DPIA, TIA, and LIA

Navigating the Landscape of GDPR Assessments: DPIA, TIA, and LIA

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has revolutionised the way personal data is handled across the European Union and beyond. A crucial aspect of GDPR compliance is the implementation of various assessments to ensure data protection and privacy. These assessments include the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), Transfer Impact Assessment (TIA), and Legitimate Interest Impact Assessment (LIA). Each of these plays an important role in safeguarding personal data and ensuring that businesses comply with GDPR requirements.

  • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

What is DPIA?

The DPIA is a process designed to help businesses systematically analyse, identify, and minimise the data protection risks of a project or plan. It is a key part of GDPR’s focus on data protection by design and by default.

The primary goal of the DPIA is to assess the impact of specific data processing activities on the privacy of individuals. It is particularly required when processing is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons. This includes, but is not limited to, systematic and extensive data processing activities, large-scale processing of sensitive data, and surveillance-based data processing.

When DPIA is Needed:

  • Processing that could result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals. This includes large-scale processing of personal data, systematic monitoring of public areas, and use of new technologies.
  • Processing of sensitive data such as health information, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, genetic or biometric data.
  • Systematic and extensive evaluation of personal aspects relating to individuals, particularly automated decision-making, including profiling.

When DPIA is Not Needed:

  • Processing activities that are not likely to result in a high risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms, such as basic customer data management for small-scale businesses.
  • Processing activities that are similar to those for which a DPIA has already been conducted and where processing operations and risks remain unchanged.

Transfer Impact Assessment (TIA)

What is TIA?

The TIA is a specialised assessment focusing on the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. It ensures that such transfers meet GDPR standards and that the data remains protected.

The goal of the TIA is to evaluate the level of protection afforded to personal data when it is transferred internationally. A TIA is necessary whenever personal data is transferred to a third country or an international organisation, particularly in cases where the European Commission hasn’t decided that the third country provides an adequate level of data protection.

When TIA is Needed:

  • You export personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
  • The data importer is in a country without an adequacy decision by the European Commission.

When TIA is Not Needed:

  • Data transfer within the EEA or to countries with an existing adequacy decision from the European Commission.
  • If the data transfer falls under specific derogations for particular situations as per GDPR (e.g., explicit consent, important reasons of public interest).


  • Legitimate Interest Impact Assessment (LIA)

What is LIA?

The LIA is an assessment process that helps businesses determine whether they have a legitimate interest in processing personal data and whether this processing overrides the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject.

The LIA’s primary goal is to balance the legitimate interests of the data controller against the rights and freedoms of the data subjects. Such an assessment is required whenever a data controller intends to process personal data based on its legitimate interests, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject.

When LIA is Needed:

  • The LIA is necessary when a business relies on legitimate interests as the lawful basis for processing personal data.

When LIA is Not Needed:

  • When processing activities are based on explicit consent or are necessary for the performance of a contract with the data subject.
  • If the processing is required by law, in which case the legal basis for processing is compliance with a legal obligation, not legitimate interests.



Each assessment has its unique triggers and requirements, but they all converge on the principle of accountability under GDPR. Businesses are expected to not only comply with these assessments but also document them, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to data protection. We invite you to book a 20-minute call with our experts to discuss how we can assist you in conducting thorough and compliant data protection assessments.


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Anna Levitina

Senior Associate

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