Thanks to a new piece of European law, EU citizens will, in 2018, have more control than ever when it comes to how their data is stored and used. The new legislation, known as the General Data Protection Act, will be the biggest legal overhaul in the data gathering sphere for 20 years. The new rules allow customers to more easily remove their data from databases, as well as provide their data to competitor services with greater ease, and require companies to provide a notification to customers within three days if there is a hack.
Any country that has companies that may wish to trade with the EU must comply or face a fine of 20 million euros, or 4% of total global income, depending on which is more. GDPR affects any company that processes data in Europe. So, if an customer of an American Mobile company visits the UK, and that company monitors, or acquires any data, then they are governed by GDPR.
Given that for many, losing out on billions worth of trade with the largest trading bloc in the world is unthinkable, EU citizens will soon find themselves with more control over their data than ever before and companies having to be more and more careful with what to do with the data they acquire.
A lot of data acquisition deals with technical information, monitoring of systems. Where that data can be directly, or indirectly related to an individual, then it potentially becomes problomatic. Imagine a situation where a device is measuring the brake performance on a test vehicle – where the data is collected and processed, alongside the details of the driver, or tester – then that data could be covered by GDPR, and organisations collecting or processing it could face huge fines if they don’t process it properly.
Now for some countries like Japan, Israel and New Zealand, who already have data privacy standards judged to be on par with Europe, then the transition process that businesses must undertake will be a reasonably smooth one. But for emerging markets, the high cost involved with administering the changes may result in them being left out in the cold.
Europe has been at the forefront of data privacy laws for a while now, but with the vast swathes of data American companies like Amazon and Facebook can collect, EU lawmakers are creating new legislation to increase protection.