With days to go until GDPR becomes enforceable as law, I continue to be invited to keynote at events, speak on webinars and the like, finding even at this late stage that many in the audience are only just started on their GDPR journey.
It is interesting to feel the frustrated, fearful temperature of most of these audiences as the
realisation from the business perspective sinks in. The work involved, the challenges, the barriers to marketing and selling, the need for change and the risks all cause concerns for those facing the need to be GDPR compliant.
However, on the flipside what are the positives? As citizens we all have data on ourselves being stored in an increasing number of systems and by a growing diversity of businesses across the globe, not just in your own country or the EU.
- The bluntest is that you will find as a member of the public that you will to a great deal get an automated cleanup of your email subscriptions and a reduction in email marketing. If like me you often get an email in your inbox, think I should unsubscribe from that, but in fact have a lot on your plate or are mobile at the time and so simply delete it thinking I’ll unsubscribe next time. Well right now I have been inundated daily with emails prompting that if I do not OPT-IN they will auto unsubscribe me. The clean-up job is being done for me and automated. (by the way this also indicated the mad rush to be clean for GDPR going on as I was not seeing these emails 3 months ago, but in the final few weeks to GDPR enforcement am getting them daily).
- GDPR is driving a far greater awareness across all companies of their responsibility to protect the data they hold on their customers, employees, members and users. This is only a good thing. It will not prevent data leaks and breaches, it will not change the world overnight, but it will make us more secure and reduce the risk of negligence, data leaks we do not hear about and give accountability for where a company does fail.
- GDPR gives far greater power to the individual of whether they want to be included in new data lists or to be removed from existing ones. Previously companies have opted you in by default and that opt in has included you to all their sister, subsidiary and affiliate companies. No longer, now all boxes must be unticked and if they wish to share with other firms/lists they shall need to list those with separate boxes for you to tick. Add to this that you can request, for free, that any company tells you what data they hold on you (SAR- Subject Access Request) and you have the right to ask them to forget you, meaning they MUST delete all data they hold on you including data on backups, ie truly forget they knew about you! The exception here is where they can demonstrate a legal requirement to keep the data for example. So don’t think you can go request those prison records to be deleted!
- Under GDPR any organisation who is suspect of a Data Breach must now report this to the authorities by law within 72 hours. Previously how many data leaks have gone unreported and under the covers?! We can only imagine, but this stops now at least in the EU and the UK. What does this mean? Well you are now going to find out if your data has been leaked/breached and the authorities may then take action and impose a larger fine than we have seen before. The benefit to you (if there is one of having your data leaked) is that you will be able to take civil action on the back of a company being found guilty of leaking your data; So just wait for the ‘had an accident at work’ lawyers to unveil their new ‘Has your data been affected’ approaches and cash right back in!
- Another benefit of all of this is that Social Media will increasingly become King (or Queen) for customer communications and engagement. Consent is granted by definition that the user chooses to come view your stream and follow it. They opt into your feed and opt out of their own accord being governed by the social platform. We have already seen companies killing their email newsletter and offers and moving it to social and expect to see an increase in this as the growth of spend in millennials and the Z generation increases.
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