Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

5 things you need to know about the GDPR

5 things you need to know about the GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a sweeping law that gives residents of the EU more control over their personal data and seeks to clarify rules and responsibilities for online services with European users.

Companies had until Friday to comply with the new rules, under which they must clearly ask for consumer's consent to harvest data, so they have to actively "opt-in" and be informed how their data is being used and for what objective.

Requests for personal information a company holds on you must be responded to within one month, with some allowances for extensions. Also, anyone within the company accessing your data must have a lawful reason to do so.

Using language apparently taken from the pages of 50 Shades of Grey, companies seem to be imposing forced consent on their users in order to achieve basic compliance with the GDPR regulations.

GDPR classifies businesses into data controllers and data processors.

The group NOYB.EU - which stands for "none of your business" - claims its action could force the USA internet giants to pay up to 7 billion euros ($8.2 billion).

This is not an absolute right - it only applies to personal data you've already provided to a company where either the processing is based on consent or on a contract, or the processing is carried out by automated means. The big difference is that now, the companies will have to justify why they're collecting and using that information. No charge can be made for releasing this data (the first time you ask for it - a company can make an admin charge if you ask again later).

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Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have been hit with privacy complaints within hours of GDPR taking effect Friday.

The GDPR has no fewer than 99 separate articles, but here are the some of the key requirements for companies who want to store and process your personal data ... Similarly, Facebook is muttering about giving the same GDPR protections to some users outside the EU.

"Lastly, if a company is sitting on potentially tens of thousands (or more) of profiles of European Union residents comprised of all different forms of personal data, the company must carefully analyze its options under the GDPR as to whether that data may be retained after May 25th or what steps the company will need to take in order to retain this data", he said. Other companies may not need to rely on consent for marketing communications. The read-it-later app Instapaper informed all European users on Wednesday that its service would be temporarily unavailable while it makes changes to ensure it is compliant with the new law. Because of the expanded territorial scope of GDPR, "Indian companies that do not comply with the GDPR will be at a risk of facing huge penalties", he said. Although they take effect as Facebook faces an enormous privacy crisis, that timing is largely coincidental. "We still don't know exactly of the application of the laws in New Zealand, so that's something we're going to find out more as the law's applied".

That's why Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems - a vocal critic of Google's data collection practices - is suing the company to the tune of $3.7 billion.

In response, a Google spokesperson said: "We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU General Data Protection Regulation". According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021, cybercrime will more than triple the number of job openings over the next five years.

Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at privacy and civil liberties advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that Facebook's changes go "one-tenth of the way toward restoring public trust".

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