GDPR comes into force on 25 May: What does it mean?
General data protection Regulation will impact the way personal data is manages around the world. What does it mean and how does it work for you?
Although the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law is only in force today, it is already causing problems for two of the tech giants was designed to limit Facebook and Google.
Privacy advocacy group noyb.de eu, under the leadership of chairman Max Schrems, has filed four complaints that Google, Facebook and are property, Instagram and WhatsApp, forcing users to consent to targeted ads if they want to continue to use the services.
“Facebook has blocked the accounts of users who have not given permission,” Schrems said In a statement outlining the complaints. “In the end, users only had the choice to delete the account or press the “I agree”button – that is not freedom of choice, more reminiscent of a North Korean election.”
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In addition, noyb.de eu noted that the access to services no longer depends “on whether a user gives consent for the use of the data,” referring to Article 7(4) of the GDPR. Schrems said: “many users still do not know that this nasty way of pushing people to permission is actually prohibited under the GDPR, in most cases.”
Schrems is also to be noted that as the tech giants are found guilty of violating the law, the first penalties would not be exceptionally large, given Google and Facebook’s in 2017 of the total revenues, but would certainly be a precedent.
“We will probably not be immediately billions of the payment of a penalty, but the corporations have intentionally violated the GDPR, so we expect a corresponding punishment under the GDPR,” Schrems added.
If a company is in violation of the law, is faced with a fine of up to €20 million (approximately $23 million) or up to 4 percent of the annual revenue, whichever is greater.
In 2017, Facebook generated $39.94 billion in revenue, while Alphabet, Google’s parent company, generated $110.9 billion in revenue.
In April, Facebook steps it would take to be compliant with the GDPR.
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In a statement to Fox News, a Google spokesperson said: “We are building privacy and security into our products from the earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU General data protection Regulation. Over the past 18 months, we have taken steps to make our products, policies and processes to provide users with meaningful data transparency and control over the services that we provide in the EU.”
Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said that the company has been working for 18 months to ensure that it meets the requirements of the GDPR.
“We have made our policies clearer, our privacy settings easier to find and introduced better tools for people to access, download, and delete their information,” Egan said in a comment obtained by Fox News.
She continued: “Our work to improve the privacy of the people don’t stop on May 25. For example, we’re building ‘Clear History’: a way for anyone to the websites and the apps that send us information when you use them, you clear this information from your account, and put our ability to save it in connection with your account for the future.”
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The EU calls on GDPR, the most far-reaching change in the rules on data protection in a generation, but there are a number of tricky issues around the implementation.
Companies try to understand what the level of protection of the different data needs, or this may force them to change the way they do business and to innovate, and the managing of the EU, with 28 national data regulators, the enforcement of the law.
“As soon as 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 the children. Andersen said: “There is a challenge for us: What actually should I do? There are a million sort of the answers.”
The EU countries are not yet ready for the new rules. Less than half of the 28 member states national laws to implement the GDPR, while the laggards are expected to in the coming weeks, according to WilmerHale, an international law firm.
A source familiar with Facebook’s thinking noted that the GDPR recognises that not all data and applications are the same, which means that they need to specific permission for how certain types of data are used, or not at all.
The source added, Facebook wants its users permission for certain types of processing of data, including ads. “Some of our other forms of processing of data is necessary for us to comply with the contract that we have with the users with a personalized service for people all over the world, contractual necessity’ under the GDPR,” the source said. “Other data processing is carried out in our legitimate interests to have weighed against the effect on the individual. This approach is in line with many similar companies.”
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As with most of the EU-wide regulations, the enforcement of the new rules for data protection falls to national authorities. While the EU stressed that the law applies to everyone, one of the major unresolved questions is whether regulators will go after any entity that breaks the law or simply focus on the data giants like Google and Facebook.
“As technology increasingly becomes the fabric of business and society, it is essential that the trusted,” David Kenny, SVP of IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, told Fox News. “IBM is helping our clients to be ready for the GDPR, and then we call the whole tech industry to adhere to the principles of ensuring that all AI systems are safe, transparent and keep information private.”
The new law comes at a time when advances in technology make the data more valuable, and thus increase the bet in the to protect.
The ability to analyze everything from consumer to medical data has huge potential, with suggestions that it will make us healthier, improve traffic flows and other good things for the society. At the same time, it provides companies with tremendous new opportunities for profit, with a number of experts put the value of the global data economy at $3 trillion.
“Data is the new soil,” said Adam Schlosser, the lead partner for digital and trade flows at the World Economic Forum. “It serves as a fundamental element for the growth.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia