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How Europe’s New Privacy Rule Is Reshaping the Internet

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out new rules for companies’ use of personal data. The law, which passed in 2016, comes into force in May 2018. Although the regulation covers only data on EU citizens, it will affect most online services because they operate globally.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

In fact, the rules were already exerting visible effects in the United States by early 2018. That’s because previous EU laws on privacy didn’t apply to companies based outside the EU, while the GDPR does.

Some requirements will affect users directly. Companies that gather personal data will require users’ consent both more frequently and with greater transparency.

The regulation increases the level of consent that companies will have to obtain and the consent will have to be “explicit and informed.” The law also requires companies to allow users to revoke their consent. Users will have the right to obtain all the data that a company has gathered from them. Rules on data portability will give users new options in moving data across platforms.  

The GDPR establishes new rules for how companies share data with partners, including “complex new requirements” for the ways companies use data they’ve obtained from other companies. Companies will have to manage their advertising partnerships differently. Data sharing will become more expensive, as will data breaches.  

The GDPR imposes severe penalties for violations. Fines for each violation could run as high as €20 million or 4% of a company’s global turnover, whichever is higher and these figures that have had companies around the world working overtime to meet the May 25, 2018, deadline for compliance.

Although greater data portability might reduce the dominance of some large networks, the costs of compliance and the increased expenses involved in sharing data could favor bigger companies. The full implications of the rules will depend on how the EU chooses to enforce them, which means many questions about effects of the GDPR will take years to resolve.

And we shall see, how these GDPR would affect the internet of things.


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