GDPR – How will this affect me?

Context

Over the past few months the average mailbox has been filled with warnings for any companies that you may have interacted with online to note that privacy policies have changed with requests to opt in to newsletters and further information provided by the company with many offering rewards and competitions to remain subscribed.

However, GDPR is much more than a newsletter opt in.

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation was seven years in the making and finally comes in to effect on 25 May, forcing huge changes to everything from technology to advertising.

Individuals
Individuals will find themselves with more power to demand that companies reveal/delete the personal data that they hold;
Regulators
Regulators can work together across the EU for the first time rather than launching jurisdiction specific actions; and
Penalties
The fine for breaching GDPR can reach the higher of 20million Euros or 4% of the company’s global turnover.

Who is covered by GDPR?

GDPR affects every company including those who hold and process large amounts of consumer data such as technology firms, marketers and those who connect the two. Complying with the basic requirements for data access and deletion presents a large burden for many companies who may not have had tools for collating all of the data that they hold on a person. However, those affected the most will be those whose business models rely on the acquisition and exploitation of consumer data on a large scale. If companies should rely on consent to process data, this must not be explicit and informed.

How will this affect me?

You will now have the power to hold companies to account in a way that has not been noted before. As individuals begin to take advantage of GDPR in large numbers the data industry will change in a way not seen before.

Witholding consent for data usage
Requesting access to their data information from brokers
Deleting their information from sites altogether.

Should I ignore company emails?

Companies are reacting in one of two ways depending on the legal advice that they have taken. On one hand, some companies who argue that they have a ‘legitimate interest’ in processing data and wish to notify you of the changes to terms and conditions (such as ourselves and our clients); and those believe they need explicit consent from you to keep in touch. If you wish to receive updates from companies you can re-subscribe either now, or at some point in the future. As an individual though, you have very little to lose by ignoring such emails.

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