The European Union (EU) started enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last May 25, driven by the goal of fostering a global culture of promoting privacy as a right and not just as a privilege. Global companies are now choosing to adopt a unified GDPR-compliant Terms of Service, instead of implementing a separate GDPR-friendly policy for EU countries and a general version for the rest of the world. This made GDPR as a globally-implemented privacy protection law, as the Internet transcends borders.
The EU forced the companies to intensify privacy-specific policies, making customers the key focus and the many ways how they interact with businesses. Organizations now need to set reasonable funding to develop and enhance systems that will better keep their customer data private.
This regional law also covers social media companies, such as Facebook. With GDPR being enforced correctly, controversies similar to the privacy-invading Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal should never happen again. Companies operating in Europe must now take care of their products and services are compliant with the regulations that assure user privacy. The principles behind the legislation of the GDPR have been the foundation of user-centric protection requirement for many countries in Europe for around 20 years but is only now being seriously enforced.
Before GDPR took effect, EU countries maintained 28 distinct data protection laws i which are regulated by 28 government agencies. With GDPR consolidating the regulations into one law, companies are freed from securing separate compliance certifications from the 28 government agencies where they operate with regards to privacy issues. The GPDR makes it less costly for firms to comply while promoting less red tape in the long run.
Innovation is the key to compliance to GDPR. The law wants organizations to develop internal policies that take security and privacy as a foundation of all companies operating in the EU territories. Customers are encouraged to share data with people they need to share data with while having the confidence that non-recipients will not have access to the same data.
With GDPR, companies need to change their internal rules. Their programs need to be vulnerability-free and leak-free. Mechanisms should be in place so that in an event of a data breach or leak, companies are obliged to inform the users without delay. This empowers the users to personally choose to close their accounts and migrate their data elsewhere if they lost trust in the company. Gone are the days that organizations deliberately leave their users in the dark by becoming secretive in the event of their servers got hacked.
As mentioned earlier, the benefits of GDPR includes everyone, not only EU-member countries. With a unified GDPR-compliant Terms of Service, companies are embracing the policies contained in GDPR globally. The GDPR blurs the line between how data are treated inside its territory and foreign areas. This is very timely, as a breach in one company includes all its users regardless of nationality. Let us continue to be alert for future developments, as we are in the early stages of GDPR’s implementation.