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GDPR: How it Might Affect You

The EU is very hot on personal data but what does it actually mean for consumers?

Published by Claire Broadley

GDPR is here. That’s the General Data Protection Regulations. But you probably already know that, because your inbox is already stuffed with emails about privacy policies and mailing lists.

There are big penalties for businesses that ignore GDPR. But what does it actually mean for consumers? And will it do anything to improve privacy?

GDPR in a Nutshell

There are thousands of blog posts about the nuts of bolts of GDPR. If you’re interested, this is one of the best guides around.

But in brief, GDPR is a huge expansion of the definition of personal data. It also compels businesses to be much more careful when collecting, sharing, and deleting information about you.

For you as an individual, GDPR gives you new rights:

  • You must consent to use your data, and you have the power to check that it’s accurate

  • You can revoke consent and ask for your data to be wiped unless it’s needed for a legitimate reason (like ongoing legal proceedings, or a business relationship)

  • Businesses can’t collect data that isn’t necessary, and they can’t keep it for longer than necessary

  • Businesses have to safeguard your data, and quickly report breaches

  • Business has to give you a copy of your data for free.

The EU is very hot on personal data, and this is a law not to be trifled with. Its tentacles are wrapped around almost every aspect of modern business, from the cookies on your computer to the way your email address or credit card details are shared.

All of those GDPR-related emails may be annoying, but they’re a sign that businesses recognise that your personal data is precious.

All Power to You

Almost half of British people don’t know what GDPR is. That’s a shame because GDPR will completely replace data protection legislation as we know it.

It’s also a timely update to the law. The old data protection legislation just couldn’t cope with many of the things we use the internet for. In theory, it will protect you against annoying spam emails, and it’ll give you the power to opt out of remarketing cookies.

And it also means that, as an EU citizen, your data is protected even outside the EU. Any company that offers goods and services in the EU has to comply with it.

Once the UK leaves the EU next year, there’s no clear picture of what will happen with GDPR. However, it’s very likely that the UK will continue to follow the rules, and GDPR will be here for the long haul.

GDPR Could Be a Big Privacy Boost

You’ve probably heard grumbles about GDPR being too difficult to implement. But for consumers, it could offer much-needed protection against the use of data without consent.

In an age of online surveillance, snooping, and hacking, it’s high time the balance was tipped back in our favour.