Hello and sorry for the long silence!
These last weeks I have been busy – reading and rereading articles and summaries about the GDPR. And then, downloading and reading through guides, to do lists and checklists… trying to understand and wondering how to apply all that which needs to be done.
These new EU wide General Data Protection Regulations are a strange thing
I never been involved directly in the implementation of a new big regulation and can very well relate to a statement I read somehwere. It went along the line:
„You read an article about the new GDPR and at the end of the article have the feeling you only understood about 1% of it and learned even less.“
It seems like a big mess in overall, ad there is a lot of confusion and a lot of things are not quite clear yet and despite the final date – May 25th – coming closer and closer there had yet been no official answers to some of the problems around.
More clarity came to me after visiting a free informative seminar about the new regualtion. And after doing the actual work of reading through (at least) half of the regulation.
So if you ask me my opinion
Though it seems messy, I am sure the regulation is a good thing in general. I mean, who wants all their information to be collected somewhere and possibly get leaked through a cyber attack, even after resigning from that service? As many companies keep customer data even years after they resigned, simply because there were no regulations about when such data should be deleted that they had to comply w ith.
Why it is a good thing – an example:
During the seminar the presenter gave a wonderful example: Someone she knew had asked a big online shop to send her all the information they collected about her. She received one CD, figured it could not possibly be all, and received a second CD after another inquiry.
The CD’s contained information dating back over years. It included all articles she had ever looked at in this time frame, all search phrases. And if I remember it correctly, it even contained all other brower tabs she had open while browsing in the online shop.
I think many of us have not been paying too much attention to such details or were not aware of it at all. I certainly haven’t. Having more rights as a customer is definitely a great. We can now lawfully request to get insights into the data collected about us and we can get it deleted.
No advantage without a disadvantage
The GDPR comes at a price. Most entrepreneurs, especially all small and middle enterprises are struggling with it. Often there are not enough people to look into it. (Or as in my case, only one person. Meaning you can’t work on projects to earn money and the GDPR at the same time.) And there usually is already no time or money to spare. So becoming compliant seems like walking through a huge maze in twilight.
The many hours that were invested in this regulation will go unpaid for most of us. Just like the good night’s sleep lost because we are worried about how to do marketing from now on. Or how to get it all done before the 25th of May. Not to mention the fear of the really high fines. No one can bring back the time, energy and money spent on this.
Accountability and transparency – yes please!
Yet I believe that holding businesses accountable for why they collect your data and for how they make use of it, is a step into the right direction. And the hefty fines are big enough to make even the big businesses try to comply. As the consequences would even hurt giants like google or facebook (to name a few). (The consequences thus being: to lose 2% to 4% of their yearly income and a lot of EU customers forced to look for alternatives in order to be compliant themselves.)
After all, these big businesses are using our data in order to make money out of us. To be able to request delatation or information about how our data is used and what is collected is basically nothing else but giving back more power to us as individuals as consumers. And I like that.
And if done right and in compliantce with the GDPR marketing could also become much more powerful and meaningful. Bringing services to only those people who want them and need them, rather than sending out mass emails to anyone in a list. I like that idea.
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