[MAR 2018] GDPR for the average person

You will come across this a lot, even if you have absolutely no interest in the Law or politics. You will get emails from the companies you online shop with, you may be required to do additional data protection training at work. GDPR is everywhere!

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU Regulation which means that it binds all EU Citizens. This is obviously quite complicated for the United Kingdom preparing for Brexit in 2019. Despite this, the UK has happily updated the data protection laws with the Data Protection Act 2018 to implement the law.

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The idea of the GDPR was to extend protection in the modern digital world. Most of our email inbox is full of spam mails and offers from companies we do not remember signing up to. In this digital age, it can be scary to know that your data is being kept and processed without your knowledge.

What does this change mean for us

This change means that we are in control of our data. An individual can access any information held about them, and that is also to be accessible for free. Previously, companies have been known to be reluctant or waste time. The new law gives the companies one month to respond to any requests of access to information.

You may have heard about the ‘right to be forgotten’, well it is actually true. An individual can also ask to have their information removed from systems. There are exceptions to this right, such as public health or medical diagnosis history. Erasing such details may be a problem.

A subtle yet significant change is the right to be informed. Online shopping is on the rise, and it is so easy to complete a checkout and not realise that you have signed up for a newsletter or offers which will bombard your email inbox for eternity unless you contact the company to stop. Which, let’s be honest, we do not do.

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Instead of an opt-out system, we will be required to actively opt-in for our contact details to be stored and used for promotional purposes. Again, this right is given to the individual, keeping one in control of the use of their information.

All-in-all, the new measure is welcomed by most individuals as it seeks to benefit them the most. It will be interesting to see the compliance levels, and how the legal system deals with non-compliance.

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