Changing Data Privacy

U.S. & World

You might be seeing notifications and emails this week from online companies working to comply with new European privacy rules. General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, went into effect on May 25th.

The new law aims to give users more control over their personal data and how it’s shared.

Ian Sherr of CNET says, “That means writing privacy policies that you can read without having gone to law school and that means if they want to share your data for whatever reason they have to ask.”

While GDPR was designed for Europeans, almost every online company is making changes to its sites and apps. It can be tempting to just delete or ignore notifications, but experts say they may contain important information about managing your digital privacy.

Kurt Wagner of Recode advises, “You should read the policies, always read the policies. They’re going to be very helpful in explaining what you’re actually giving up to these companies.”

In many of the policy update emails, companies say simply continuing to use the service means that you accept the new terms. Take the time to explore the new privacy controls that companies are offering.

On Facebook for instance, you can opt out of ads based on activity on other Facebook-owned products, such as WhatsApp or the Oculus Virtual Reality System.

Sherr adds, “The idea that they actually have to explain stuff to us so we understand and so we’re informed is a major change and its good.”

It’s too early to know how effective the law will be, but it’s being closely watched by governments across the globe. Companies that don’t comply with the GDPR rules could face a hefty fine up to 4% of global revenue.

For Facebook, that’s equivalent to $1.6 billion dollars.

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