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Did someone say GDPR?

If you don’t know what GDPR is then you must’ve been under a VERY big rock for the last year. To be fair, from what we’re seeing and hearing from a number of businesses, there are quite a few people who wish they’d been under that rock too.

Implemented on 25th May 2018, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a regulation, added to EU law, which relates to data protection and data privacy for every individual in the EU. It was specifically designed to give us all control over our personal data and simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.

In essence, it should have enabled you to be the ultimate master of your own data and give you more rights over companies wishing to use that data. Simple eh!

So, in this post-GDPR implementation era, has anything really changed for us mere mortals? Have you taken back control and exercised any of your new rights? Or are you sick and tired of having to ‘agree to our privacy policy’ before you can actually look at that website with the white chocolate cheesecake recipe on it? There’s a term for that particular GDPR demon by the way: it’s called ‘opt-in weariness’ and we’re suffering too!

And how about the businesses who have spent hundreds of frantic hours grappling with the regulation to ensure compliance? What’s changed for them? Do they all have squeaky clean GDPR policies in place or are they successfully dodging fines? It would appear, for many, that they are still getting their fingers burnt and facing the wrath of their customers and the media with data breaches a seemingly daily occurrence. For example, the credit card details of 40,000 Ticketmaster customers were ‘spilt’ earlier this year and, most recently, British Airways fell victim to the same group thought to be behind the Ticketmaster fiasco. Approximately 380,000 of their customers were affected. Ouch.

Clearly the link between our own personal data and how companies use it, track it and, most importantly store it, is at the very heart of the matter. As is trust, but that’s often a dirty word in the cold, hard commercial world. It’s all well and good accepting a privacy policy because you want to read or watch something on a certain website, sign up for a newsletter or purchase those Arctic Monkeys’ tickets but what actually happens when you accept that policy? Chances are you can’t answer that question because, even if you read a privacy policy from start to finish, you’ll still have no clue what you’re consenting to. And you’re definitely not alone.

Privacy policies don’t really tell you about all the things that can be done with your data. Therefore, once you’ve accepted, companies can draw on it and make inferences about you using both statistical analysis and, more increasingly, artificial intelligence. You’ll be pleased to know that GDPR does address this, but the onus is actually on you to do something. It’s down to you to contact that company and specify how they can use your data – you’ve been doing that with every privacy policy you’ve accepted, right?

GDPR is a truly fascinating subject for everyone in the etiCloud office, honestly! The fact is, it’s here to stay and its ramifications will be felt for many years to come. It really needn’t be a topic that strikes fear into you. So, if you’re one of those SMEs or global brand leaders struggling to come to terms with various unexpected outcomes of GDPR or, heaven forbid, your company still isn’t GDPR compliant, give us a call and we’ll pop in and help. We’ll get you out from under that rock, no problem. Just don’t get us started on privacy policies!

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