GDPR really was developed for all the right reasons. However, many have considered this year’s regulation as a ‘hammer to crack a nut’. But we should remember there were very specific reasons why GDPR needed to happen.
Our online lives have evolved.
In the early days of the World Wide Web it was very easy to create a fake account, call yourself by a different name and be someone else online. In fact, much suspicion was created by this kind of tactic. It’s not quite so easy these days and that may well seem like a good thing. We are now used to having all the points joined up as we travel through our digital journeys. That caused another problem.
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The real issue is and was that we lost control of who was using our data
We no longer knew where it was ending up and if we had any right to stop it. One of the most significant tactics used by companies to harvest our data, and then do what they liked with it was: ‘implied consent.’ When you sign up to our newsletter, in effect, you give us the right to do anything we like with your data. We seemed powerless to do a thing.
If GDPR was such a big hammer you might well believe that this won’t happen any more.
You would be wrong in that summation. Right now Google appears not to be adhering to the spirit of this new regulation. Princeton University researchers alongside the Associated Press have compiled a report suggesting so much. In the report they put forward the notion that Google has managed to concoct a modus operandi where default features allow them to continue gathering data regarding location from its users. OK, that’s what we signed up for. However, it appears they are still doing it for people who have expressed a desire NOT to have this data harvested. They have actually said “no” within their device settings.
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You see, data means big bucks and companies are doing their hardest to keep their incomes flowing.
GDPR is a ‘damned inconvenience’ as far as they are concerned. Google are particularly savvy about what data can be collected and how. This knowledge is worth billions. For example, they know how to track data, especially with relevance to location through multiple vectors. Each time you utilise Google Maps they have the opportunity to deliver advertising or content pertaining to your specific location. I mean, how powerful is that? Even on a simple search you are suggesting where you are, what you are doing and what you need. Suddenly you are signalling like a beacon and your desires are extremely valuable to all kinds of people.
You might be thinking this is all sounding a bit ‘Brave New World’
What’s the problem? We have the capacity to be aware of what is happening and nip it in the bud. Surely we can imply “disable by default” and obviously it’s easy to switch these things off isn’t it? Anyway, surely most people, who also have a vested interest in protecting their own data, will work within the spirit of GDPR? It’s a good thing isn’t it?
Sigh, when did we all get to be so naïve?
Google has a different take on all this – of course they would, a significant income stream is under threat after all. Apparently it’s our fault anyway, we just don’t read the small print. We could spend a day or two disabling all information gathering. But is that human behaviour? Interestingly I worked in a university cyber security department and they wouldn’t allow any location trackers anywhere near them. There were whole hosts of regulations and codes of behaviours they followed to stop being tracked and compromised. Yes, it really is that scary.
What I want to know is why the developers always have the upper hand?
They have a very granular control and I give up all my rights whenever I type in the address of a business premises I need to visit on Google maps. We are too addicted to convenience to really consider our data protection. That’s why GDPR WAS necessary, IS necessary and is not a one off. On-going compliance must be adhered to and tightly policed. Why is it we don’t have the ability to enable such features if we want them rather than have to disable them if we don’t? Even if you do click to have “location services” switched off it doesn’t actually mean that. What then happens is that app specific levels of storage and disclosure come into play. Clever huh? All this happens without us having any awareness at all.
It’s worth taking the risk and simply flouting the law for some
Not only this any fines that might be levied may well just end up as cost of sale. If your company can make more money by breaking the law than any sanctions handed out it’s worth the risk isn’t it? I mean, what if the EU capitulates and weighs up the impact of fining Google into oblivion. Could they do that? So therefore what is the sanction that would make Google switch off their most profitable data collection features? Answers on a postcard please.
Not everyone is taking this lying down
The Irish Times reported that things are getting interesting when Max Schrems, the Austrian privacy activist launched three official complaints against Facebook. He also dragged in Whatsapp and Instagram. In addition Schrems filed a 3.7 billion euro case against French data protection authority France CNIL regarding Google Android’s smartphone operating system.
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We live in a time where big data means big bucks.
With all the hype and panic surrounding the implementation of GDPR you might have thought things were going to be different. That’s not true. We live in a time where big data means big bucks. With the rapid development of technology including facial recognition and AI then this is the beginning of a number of significant skirmished on our borders. We do need the right to be forgotten or delete information you don’t want seen. Why should we be blighted for the rest of our lives for something long past?
How strong is GDPR under duress?
Right now Europe has gone ahead in the global fight against data misappropriation. This is a massive test of just how strong GDPR really is. If the authorities fail to underscore the law with hefty punishments it will undermine everything. What incentive is there for the big digital players to tighten up their respect for data protection? What do you think?
Could your business demonstrate GDPR compliance if someone asked you today?
You’ve done the hard work to become GDPR compliant but what if:
– You had a complaint?
– You had a request from a Data Subject to hand over their Personal Data?
– Or the ICO (Or your local Data Protection Authority) came knocking?
How quickly could you show someone everything you’ve put in place?
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