Millions of us put our trust in the companies we don’t know. We agree to their terms, their conditions and the way they look after our data. All of that without having the faintest clue what we’re signing up to and what law they’re governed by. The desire to order that thing or to book that flight is much much stronger than reading the terms and conditions. But is that data in good hands? Governed by sensible laws? How can we deal with data protection in the EU?

In this post we will try the explain the latest regulation for data protection in EU.

DATA PROTECTION IN THE EU

data protection in the eu

The globalization and exchange of data are considered to be main goals of EU for years. However, those things lead to some problems when it comes to data privacy. In a time of modern communications, information are exchanged in various ways using the Internet. Unfortunately, there are also numerous way of misconducting these information. It is obvious that there should be a special regulation for controlling all sensitive data people exchange.

The main beneficiaries of the lack of data privacy regulations are big companies. Different laws across the EU have given them astonishing freedom in what they do.So, the companies can choose to settle in a country whose data protection laws suits them best. Because of this, all too often you lose control over your data without even knowing it. And what about social networks? They seem not to have any limits when it comes to the usage of their users data.

This may sound scary and what can we do? The comforting news is – something has already been done.

GDPR

Have you been getting more of the unusual email lately? Mainly asking if you want to stay on the mailing list you don’t even remember joining? If that sound familiar, then you should probably know the reason behind it.  

Since May 25, in all EU has the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Many claim the GDPR is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years.

The interesting thing is that this regulation appears in the midst of Facebook’s data protection scandal. It is alleged that the data from 87 million Facebook users have been collected by firm Cambridge Analytica. It is a political consulting and strategic communication company who run the 2016 presidential campaign of current US president, Donald Trump. This scandal is one of the biggest data protection scandal in history and even led to a Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing before US Congress.

However, the timing of these two events was a mere coincidence. The GDPR has been prepared for years.

WHAT IS GDPR?

data protection in the eu

More than 90% of Europeans say they want the same rights of data protection in the EU, regardless of where their data is processed. And some may say that their requests have been answered. The sole purpose of this GDPR is providing the EU citizens more control over their personal data. For example, companies will be able to give their EU users copy of their personal data, and in some cases, delete them. This legislation will mostly affect companies who gather a lot of user’s data. Those are technology companies, insurance houses, banks, etc.

The GDPR will give the users more control over their data. At the same time it will force companies to harvest and process data in a more secure way.

Every company operating in the EU will have to follow these rules, regardless of its origin. Consequently, this will affect large companies such as Facebook and Google, but also the small companies with, for example only one or two European clients.

What will GDPR mean for the users?

Although all of this sounds very promising, there’s a small chance the users will see drastic changes. Companies will still continue to collect and process data from your phones, apps and web pages. The only difference is they will have to give the valid reason for doing so. Additionally, all the services that collect data will have to clearly state to the users why are they doing so and how will they use them. They will also have to give their EU users access to those data.

So, data will still be collected, it’s just that from now on you will know which company knows what about you.

POSSIBLE SHORTCOMINGS

Regulations of this regulations will be under jurisdiction of national and regional institutions of all 28 EU countries. However, 17 out of 24 official institutions included in one survey have stated that they still don’t have necessary funding. In addition, they have pointed out the possibility of not having enough power to implement data protection in the EU.

CONCLUSIONS

All this talk about the new data protection in the EU may sound very dull, but it is really important for each and every one of us. Without the right laws there is little to protect you against having your data misused, made vulnerable to theft and stored in places you really wouldn’t’ want it to be. Don’t we all want to protect our personal data? Don’t we all have the right to privacy? We don’t want to notify our governments or our employer where we are an what we do. However, if you go on any kind of trip just by paying with your card on a gas station, your data may become public. This is why it’s important to have a good data protection regulation. The authorities say that it’s crucial that these regulations are applied in both EU level and national level. Only by doing so we can have a good data protection in our countries.

 

If you want to read more articles like this, check out our blog “MaDI  blog“.