18 Jun GDPR – Is there any choice?
What’s happening? What’s happening is that we are being bombarded by messages and notifications about the privacy protection laws whenever we turn on our computers, tablets and smartphones. But does anyone actually read the fine print? Most people only know that it’s happening, but don’t understand its effects. Websites and applications are in a race to notify their users…who will of course not read the notification and if they do, won’t notice any difference in their lives.
The driving force behind this “change” was the European General Data Protection Regulation – which was approved in 2016 and put into effect on 25 May this year.
Although it is a European rather than an American law, GDPR applies to all companies located anywhere in the world that offer goods or services, or monitor online activities of EU residents. As a result, many multinational companies have chosen to fully integrate GDPR regulations instead of trying to differentiate between customers and end-users.
Since the GDPR is in many ways similar to previous EU privacy laws, this regulation offers an opportunity for end users to control their data, however, resolving any issues may last many years.
Like many other privacy rules, GDPR is based on the principle of notifying users of their personal choice. A company that wants to collect your personal information must first show what kind of information it collects and what it plans to do with it. The user then decides whether to allow the company to collect that information.
What happens people aren’t informed well enough? Absolutely nothing.
So let me explain to myself and you – by clicking from one page to another, liking posts on Facebook and engaging in countless online commercial and non-commercial activities – we become data generators. This data makes up a complex ecosystem that data companies and leading media agencies have the keys to.
This data which can only be understood by data analysts are repackaged and sold to advertising agencies and marketing departments. These reports provide insight into the target market/consumer behaviour and inform marketing campaigns – which ultimately can sway users purchase decision making from major decisions such as which bank loan to choose, to simple everyday decisions like which chewing gum to buy.
Actually there is no choice
Beacon of hope
This famous GDPR regulation that everyone is talking about, and nobody understands (including myself after all this research) will in some way enable end users to regain control over their information and data. Among other things, it states that user consent to collect personal information may become void if that service, platform, application, and website collects data that does not correlate with the scope of the service. For example, an application that provides driving directions in a location may request access to your location, but NOT request access to your contact list, as this is not required to provide the mapping services you requested.
It remains to be seen how revolutionary this change will be in the advancement of consumer privacy. Perhaps there will be new sustainable alternatives to Facebook and Google. Either way, the consumers are fighting for their right to privacy, showing that alternative methods can become the true competitive advantage.
Tatjana Burg, Digital Account, New Moment