Are you getting spammed? Or are companies panicking about some secret threat, all at the same time? Nope.
As issues with Facebook have surfaced (think Cambridge Analytica and the mess that caused), more people, organizations, and governments have become concerned about how data is being collected, stored, and shared through outlets like social media. While social media was once considered harmless, it’s become worrisome to the legal system in many countries. And there are consequences for the companies: Facebook’s CEO has had to testify in more than one government’s hearings, and has faced serious penalties.
So What’s With the Emails?
All those emails that you’re getting are the reaction to a new law in the European Union. It’s called General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short. Very generally speaking, it tells companies worldwide that collect data from EU customers how they should handle that data. If they don’t follow the rules, they will face steep fines and penalties.
How Are Businesses Reacting?
Well, you’ve seen the flood of emails, so you know that pretty much everyone from the largest corporation to the tiniest solopreneur is updating their privacy policies and letting their customers know about it.
That said, some large newspapers and other types of companies are opting to block European shoppers from their websites. These organizations indicate that they might fix their privacy policies in the future, but for now they’re just opting out of the GDPR regulation.
Why is GDPR Only in the EU?
The European Union has a history of being stricter about tech issues than the U.S.; however, the U.S. government is also discussing the issue of data privacy and trying to find a solution to protect American consumers. No one is exactly sure how that will look. But in the meantime, the EU regulation is leading the way to improve privacy protection policies so that, in the future, we can possibly avoid compromised data like in the Facebook scandal. So accept the flood of emails for exactly what they are: progress toward keeping your information secure.
If you want to learn more about the new regulation, check out the EU GDPR Information Portal
for all the details.