Data Protection and personal privacy: GDPR in Europe - Must read!

The European Union has one of the strictest regulations in the world regarding personal data protection.

Thousands of companies are bearing the brunt

It’s everywhere: over the past few months, every internet user from a European Union country received constantly messages asking for consent to accept cookies or to use personal data. Data protection on the way.

This is due to the implementation, on 25 May 2018, of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. The general public may still not understand all the details of data protection. But the GDPR applies to all companies (or individuals) that host, gather or process data belonging to EU residents.

Data protection and personal data

The personal data are name, birth date, email, identification number, location data, online identifier, etc… The collection of theses data is only possible with the explicit consent of the user. And the user can require that to delete his data at any time. This is the end of the infamous “opt-out”, the biased practice that assumes an individual agrees to the data collection. Non-compliance penalties are severe. The regulation for data protection states that companies could receive a fine up to 4% of their global revenue.

data protection

It’s an unprecedented reinforcement of individual protection,” said Christoph Bauer, founder and CEO of ePrivacy. It’s a German company which the specialization is the data protection. “The entire online advertising industry, which until now gathered and stored massive amounts of data and sold them, has to now seriously rethink the way it operates in Europe.”

Data protection and Companies

Facebook, which already lost one million active daily users in Europe, attributed this brutal drop to the implementation of the GDPR during the presentation of its Q2 2018 results. Twitter did the same. Subject experts still are not convinced. “Big American companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon were expecting this legislative change, which the announcement was in 2016. Their considerable wealth made it possible for them to comply with the GDPR, both from a legal and technical standpoint. Although they may have had to revise their terms and conditions,” said Bauer.

In preparation, Facebook announced in April this year that its 1.5 billion non-European users were being placed under US jurisdiction (Facebook Inc), even though they were for the most part covered by Irish legislation, as the network has its headquarter in Ireland. LinkedIn made a similar move in May. It was a way to free its users from the restrictions of the GDPR, as US laws on personal data use are much more lenient than those in Europe.

Europe and regulation

Other (often smaller) companies have even decided to stop working with personal data from the European Union. This was the case, for example, for many US media companies. Such as the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun. They now block each European visitors from accessing their website.

Despite the inconvenience it causes for companies, the GDPR is unlikely to turn into the predicted disaster. According to many experts, data protection and the regulation is a valuable update of the technology and ecosystem surrounding data collection, as well as an opportunity to clean up an industry left unregulated for far too long. The upcoming adoption of the ePrivacy law will regulate a few remaining grey areas, such as cookies, once and for all, since their interpretation still differs between EU members.

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