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Seeing a Lot of Privacy Policies in Your Inbox?

By Brady McAninch on June 22, 2018

Meet the New Data Protection Regulations Now in Effect

If it seem like you’ve been getting a lot of emails lately asking you if you want to unsubscribe from a particular mailing list, or alerting you to an update in a website’s privacy policy, you’re not alone.

The reason for this recent influx of such emails is something called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which went into effect on May 25, 2018. GDPR gives citizens of the European Union more control over their data and how it can be used. In case you didn’t know, when you post something on Facebook or do a Google search, that information is collected by those companies and can be sold to other third-party businesses.

For instance, you may have noticed that you get ads for a certain product or service once you’ve done a search for that product or service. If you do a Google search for vacation rentals in Florida, you may start to get more ads for hotels, motels, and condominiums in Florida. Why? Because Google sells your data, or information, to other companies, and they, in turn, target you with ads based on your searches.

Under the rules of GDPR, companies that do business in the European Union will now have to ask you if they can collect your data and disperse it, or if they can put you on an email list. Also under GDPR rules, you can ask a company like Google to take down a post or picture that you no longer want on the internet. Suppose you posted a picture of yourself and your junior prom date to your Facebook page. It may have ended up in cyberspace permanently. Now, 10 years later, you’re about to get married to someone you didn’t meet until you were in college, but the prom picture still comes up when your name is searched. Under GDPR rules, you can tell Google to delete that picture from its search engine.

GDPR Doesn’t Just Affect the European Union

While GDPR was enacted for the purpose of protecting the data of people in the European Union, it will have an impact on the rest of the world as well, because it applies to any country doing business in the EU. Any company found in breach of GDPR laws will be fined either 20 million euros or 4% of that company’s annual global turnover, whichever is the larger amount. GDPR also requires companies that discover data breaches, like the one that occurred with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, to notify their customers of the breach within 72 hours.

To what extent GDPR will affect companies on this side of the pond remains to be seen, but for now, it is causing a lot of extra emails in people’s accounts. Don’t worry; it’s here to protect you.

More about online privacy from Hipskind & McAninch, LLC:
Did ESPN Violate Jason Pierre-Paul’s Privacy?
Can Posting on Social Media Cost You Money? Jail Time?
Does Tagging Someone on Facebook Violate Their Right to Privacy?
Can Your Boss Ask for Your Facebook Password? Not for Long.

Questions About a Privacy Issue in Belleville?

You ask; lawyers John Hipskind and Brady McAninch will answer. Set up your free consultation at (618) 641-9189 today.

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