What Does GDPR Mean? When Does It Start? New Privacy Laws Explained

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Coming downstream over the last seven years, even if you've never heard of GDPR you will have undoubtedly felt the GDPR "bow-wave" over the last month, with your rapidly filling inbox raising awareness of the coming prelude. The aim of the legislation is to give citizens more control over their personal data.

The right to be informed: This means you have the right to know how companies use your data.

Do you have all the means you need to ensure that the regulations are complied with?

Google offers a similarly mandatory notice on Android phones, where users who don't accept the terms of service are not able to use the devices. Such "spammers" could face fines and enforcement action - but would have already been in breach of European Union law (and specifically the e-Privacy Directive) before the new data protection rules kicked in. This is happening because the data previously gathered by companies on their users does not qualify for consent, so they need your explicit consent for the use of that data.

"Once you try to codify the spirit (of the law) - then you get unintended consequences", said Lars Andersen, whose London-based My Nametags business handles names and phone numbers of children.

While one objective of GDPR is to give consumers more control over their personal data and prevent unauthorized uses, another relatively clear goal of the law is to create a legal and regulatory tool to manage (or restrain) Google and Facebook and their use of data. Plus, that consent must be easy to withdraw or change. If that's the real problem, the laws will make a difference by making businesses think more deeply about what data they collect and why, and GDPR may improve the quality of the Internet.

GDPR also aims to protect consumers even if their data is compromised.

Data controllers will have to immediately notify consumers about the risks and measures taken to mitigate any data breaches, such as changing passwords or cancelling credit cards.

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What is Considered Personal Data?

There's still an open question on whether companies will notify US customers of any breaches, Lewis says.

"A New Zealand business that's doing business in Europe will have to be cognisant of these".

The right to rectification: If a data subject finds out that a company has data on them that's incorrect, they can request that it gets updated.

NOYB points out that GDPR explicitly allows any data processing that is strictly necessary for the service, but using the data additionally for advertisement or to sell it on needs the users' free opt-in consent.

Other Europeans took things in their stride, responding to the abrupt blackout, preceded by an avalanche of emails urging Europeans to agree to the new privacy rules, with cartoons and memes.

Another right users will now have is the right to anonymity.

The GDPR has no fewer than 99 separate articles, but here are the some of the key requirements for companies who want to store and process your personal data ...

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