What is GDPR And How Will It Affect Your Business?

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, goes into effect on May 25. It’s important for agencies, clients and consumers to understand how it will impact digital everywhere.

GDPR is essentially a set of guidelines for how companies can use personal data collected through digital devices. It’s part of an ongoing debate surrounding internet privacy and user protections. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica brought the discussion to the forefront of societal concerns.

These guidelines tighten strict laws already set for European companies over what they can do with people’s data, but firms around the world that collect customer data and/or have business with data processing and other services in the European Union must adhere to GDPR, including those companies in the U.S.

GDPR fills in the legal blanks left open in the e-commerce landscape before the era of smartphones and the frequent collection of large amounts of data by companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Under GDPR, digital customers are given more control over how their personal data is collected and companies are required to provide more transparency about the specific data collected and how the data will be used. Your name, phone number, account username, IP address, geographical location – anything that can identify you. And there are even stricter policies for sensitive information such as sexual orientation, health data and political opinions.

Users will often have to opt in to allow a company to use their personal data. They can request to have data deleted and should be able to receive it through a common file type. But agreements by companies to delete data are not guaranteed as certain conditions apply.

Misuse of consumer data now has a price tag. Any firm that is found guilty of not complying with the GDPR regulation could be fined up to 20 million Euros or 4 percent of annual turnover, whichever is larger.