First of all, what does GDPR mean and how does it affect us?
The General Data Protection Regulation provides all of us with certain rights related to our personal data. This brings us to two questions: “what is considered personal data?” and “which are those rights?”
What is considered personal data? Basically, any personal information that can be directly linked to your name, and therefore to you as a person. The most obvious example are your home address, phone number and email address. But the definition could be seen much wider, including medical records, bank details, financial data, tagged pictures on facebook, subscription details for online services, and a lot more instances that you may not quite come to mind right now. Think big!
Which rights do you have under the GDPR? These rights are clearly defined and could be listed as such:
You can read more about those basic rights here: https://eugdprcompliant.com/eu-citizens-rights/
What does GDPR mean for individuals?
Everybody living in the European Union receives certain assurances regarding their personal data as mentioned above. This should be seen as a huge step forward: until now, access to your personal data was handled by each provider separately, and while many of them may have some kind of policy regarding maintenance, access to information and removal of personal data, this was neither comprehensive nor secure, and ultimately unreliable. Providers could move to another country and circumvent any legislation pertaining to data protection easily.
Now each individual is in a position to make use of the rights outlined above and control the use of their data to a much larger degree as before.
What does GDPR mean for businesses?
This is where it becomes interesting: businesses tend to see GDPR as a huge pain in the back, as this means at first sight that they are forced to make drastic changes to the way they handle data and respond to their customers’ requests regarding the data they hold.
Indeed, to some degree this is true, but the GDPR is really just a tightening of rules that had existed before with a lesser level of scrutiny and responsibility towards the person whose data they hold. In fact, GDPR replaces a previous set of rules regarding personal data protection rather than presenting us with something completely new. It’s not a completely new game, but rather a change to the underlying rules.
So, where’s that opportunity mentioned in the title line?
Both individuals and businesses have a chance to weed out a lot of dead weight from anything involving their personal data!
As an individual, you may have received a lot of emails lately, asking for your consent to keep your data and continue to send you certain communications. While it’s always better to unsubscribe (and I invite you to take that opportunity whenever you receive one of those emails), this gives you a bit of a shocking overview how many people and organisations hold personal data on you! Give each of those a quick scan and make a clear decision. It’s a perfect point to review your own policy on subscribing to diverse newsletters and bulletins and cut down on them wherever possible.
On the business front, many organisations and companies start to see the new rules as an impetus to properly reorganise the ways they keep and manage client/customer data. It’s the proverbial kick in the butt that gets things going.
We are all guilty of letting the slack creep in and become complacent with other people’s information. The more our records grow, the more we become reluctant to let go of anything for fear of missing out on something. Companies and organisations are particularly greedy when it comes to collecting email addresses and phone numbers for marketing purposes. With larger amounts of data it also becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the integrity of those records.
The new regulation becomes the new standard on 25 May 2018 – yes: that is tomorrow! Now is as good a time as any to start cleaning up your act, as an individual and as a business.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.