The date is upon us.
GDPR was a cunning plan thought up by the EU. Europe’s data protection laws have long been regarded as a gold standard all over the world. But over the last 25 years, technology has transformed our lives in ways nobody could have imagined so a review of the rules was needed.
In 2016, the EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of its greatest achievements, they say. It replaces the1995 Data Protection Directive which was adopted at a time when the internet was in its infancy.
The GDPR will be recognised as law across all the EU member states today, the 25thMay 2018.
But will it actually see the destruction of many businesses. Mailing lists and research data built up over years may be rendered useless if those businesses do not have consent to keep in touch or hold that data?
Companies are worried about the impact non-compliance could have, many fear that negative media or social coverage could cause their organisation to lose customers and they are very concerned that their brand image, built up over very many years, would be de-valued as a result of negative coverage.
Although this is an EU directive, it also affects businesses globally who interact with European customers seeing some applying blocks for their customers in the UK and Europe. American news websites including the New York Daily News and Los Angeles Times are among those which have temporarily shut down in Europe along with many others who sell goods online to the UK & Europe.
The privacy of the individual is hugely important, especially when set against the intrusions of governments. GDPR is potentially putting the brakes on innovation and risks punishing companies for situations beyond their control.
There are some ironies too. The EU wants to give individuals unfettered access to the data that companies store about them. Yet the EU is not transparent about its own operations, including the voting records of MEPs and the lobbyists who try and shape EU policy in their favour.
GDPR takes little notice of how data is a vital raw material of product and business innovation. It is likely to stifle data-driven innovation as well as helping to reduce operational costs.
Rather like a lot of regulation in the UK, learnings only come when it is way too late. In this case let us hope that businesses, especially smaller businesses can survive the impact of GDPR, both seen and unforeseen.
As a footnote, this is the most perfect opportunity for scammers to use GDPR as a way of getting you to click on a link in a phishing e-mail that you shoud not. DO NOT click on any e mails where you do not recognise the sender or the address it purports to come from.