By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
You probably don’t pay much attention to legislation going on in Europe; after all, many people don’t even pay attention to legislation in the US. But recent European Union (EU) legislation could have a big impact on things here in the states. It’s called GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation. What is GDPR? Well, it’s something you should definitely know about it. Here’s a simple guide to help you learn more.
What is GDPR?
At its most basic level, GDPR gives consumers more control over their personal information that’s collected by companies. Not only does this affect people in the EU, it also affects companies that offer goods or services to people in Europe. This includes big tech companies like Google and Facebook.
What are the key takeaways from GDPR?
One of the big GDPR policies is the strengthening of conditions of consent. In other words, companies cannot use any vague or misleading statements to get you to agree to give your data away. Companies must also make it easy for you to stop giving consent for data, even if you previously said it’s okay.
Another part of the GDPR is that parents must grant opt-in permissions for data collection for children under the age of 16. The legislation also makes it mandatory for companies to give notifications about data breaches within 72 hours of realizing it.
With the GDPR, you’ll be able to access what personal information a company is storing, and what they will do with it. You can also ask for the data to be eliminated or you can take your data and transfer it elsewhere.
What if the rules are broken?
If a company doesn’t comply with GDPR, they could be fined up to 20 million euros, or about $24.6 million. Hence you’ll likely be seeing your inbox flooded with updated privacy policies as of late.
How does this affect companies?
Companies that handle massive amounts of data have a big job ahead of them. Facebook, for instance, has said that it is releasing new tools for privacy, which helps it comply with the GDPR rules. Other companies are following suit, and it’s quite likely that this legislation will have an impact on many.
For instance, some are speculating that the average monthly users for sites like Facebook could fall. Revenue might see less of an impact. However, companies still have some concerns about how the new legislation might affect them. Companies have until May 25, 2018, to comply.
What does GDPR mean for you?
If you are based in Europe, you can rest easier knowing that the governments are watching your back and holding corporations’ feet to the fire. With GDPR, your data will get more private over time.
If you are anywhere else in the world, you may get some of the repercussions of GDPR for companies that do business in Europe (and therefore must comply with this new regulation).
You should also needle your politicians and email them until they initiate GDPR in your country. The fact is, in today’s internet age, our privacy is increasingly being abused and the regulations in place are not sufficient to protect us. If we all insist, privacy can be revived around the world.