GDPR – What Users Need To Know.

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Hey you must have received some consistent unusual mails from Facebook, google and other companies you use online. About updated terms of service and privacy in relation to GDPR. So what is this GDPR? Does it affect you? How? Here is what you need to know as user.

GDPR in a Nutshell

GDPR means General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a newly promulgated law in the EU that aims to attain privacy and protection of user’s personal data. This means that companies now need to share with users any valuable information they have collected about them. GDPR also deals with users consent about their information held by companies, its handling and gives them ability to object. As a result user can request their data anytime, ask for rectification and erasure of the data from companies at will.

What Data?

GDPR covers any personal information provided by the user like name, phone, username, IP address, location, sexual orientation, health data, political opinions etc.

Why now?

Over the last few months data scandals have erupted about illegal handling of users data. In the worst, Facebook shared over 50 Million users’ data to Cambridge Analytica. A data company that allegedly processed users’ data via complex algorithms .Then used it to manipulate electoral decisions in several countries. As a result of lack of proper legal framework to prosecute such instances and regulations to dictate how user’s data should be handled, EU came up with GDPR.
However, most companies have taken it upon themselves to apply the regulation to all their users even outside EU. GDPR took effect on 25th May 2018. That is why you are bound to receive more updated terms and privacy emails.

What does GDPR Cover?

GDPR gives users right to make requests about their personal data to ensure its not being misused for purposes other than the legitimate purpose for which it was originally provided. Users have the right to know what data about them is kept, access it and request rectification if need be. As a user you can object to processing of the data via automated processes, request to have your data transferred to a different controller or even erased and thus forgotten. E.g. A while ago I deleted my Facebook account. After about a month I tried to login and indeed found the account had just been temporarily put offline .Through some check box to confirm I wanted it active I got my account back. Under the GDPR that would be breach of rights because I wanted my account and data forgotten.

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GDPR and Data Sharing

There is a lot more companies than you know holding your data and using it on daily basis. This is not necessarily because you have an account with them but as a result of behind the scenes data sharing between companies. Under the GDPR companies will have to get the consent of users before undergoing such acts. On top of that the second company will have to give reasons why it wants the data and how it intends to use it.
E.g. did you know that by visiting a simple website might feed in data to multiple companies for analytics, logins and bubble advertisements? I bet you have seen an advert online or even ran an ad online using a social media company, AdWords or another company. Online ads contribute lion’s share of online giants like Facebook and google revenue. To protect their source of revenue this companies guarantee results through ad targeting. Ad targeting requires a lot of users’ data to reach the right target audience. This is one reason for data sharing between companies.

Taking Advantage of GDPR as User

At the moment all big companies with a size-able market share in the EU are on the run to comply with GDPR and avoid looming lawsuits. As a result they are giving users a choice to edit their settings on their personal data handling. You can withdraw rights you initially gave to third-party apps to access your data. Also read new terms of service and privacy. It’s important to know your rights and be able to initiate legal action when violated.
Is it a win for users?
It’s a bit too early to tell but definitely it’s a step in the right direction.

Sign off

I love enlightening my esteemed readers about important happenings over the web, more so those that affect them. That’s why I wrote this and certainly many more to come. In future you may want the privilege to receive my new posts via email. Simply subscribe and become part of the family. Till then adios.

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