Unpacking the GDPR: What every consumer needs to know
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive set of data protection laws implemented by the European Union in 2018. These regulations have had a significant impact on how companies collect, store, and use consumer data, and have also given consumers more control over their personal information. It is important that every consumer understands what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is and how it affects them.
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations aimed at protecting the personal data and privacy of individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The regulations apply to both companies based in the EU/EEA as well as companies outside the EU/EEA that process personal data of individuals within the EU/EEA. The GDPR gives consumers more control over their personal data and requires companies to be transparent about how they collect, store and use that data.
Consumer rights under the GDPR
One of the main advantages of the GDPR is that it gives consumers more control over their personal data. Some of the rights that consumers have under the GDPR include:
- The right to information – Consumers have the right to know how their data is used, with whom it is shared, and how it is protected.
- Right of access – Consumers can request access to their personal data and request a copy of the data the company holds about them.
- Right to rectification – Consumers can request correction of inaccurate or incomplete data.
- The right to erasure – Also known as the “right to be forgotten”, consumers can request that their personal data be erased in certain circumstances.
- The right to restrict processing – consumers can determine how their data is used in certain situations.
- The right to data portability – Consumers can request their personal data in a machine-readable format so they can transfer it to another company.
- Right to object – Consumers can object to the processing of their personal data in certain situations.
How does the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affect companies?
Companies that collect, store or process personal data of EU/EEA residents must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. This includes not only companies based in the EU/EEA, but also companies based outside the EU/EEA if they provide goods or services to individuals in the EU/EEA or monitor the behavior of individuals within the EU/EEA . Some of the basic requirements for businesses under the GDPR include:
- Obtaining explicit consent from individuals before collecting their personal data.
- Implement data protection measures to keep individuals’ personal data safe.
- Appoint a data protection officer if the company processes large amounts of personal data or engages in systematic monitoring of individuals.
- Notify authorities of a data breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of it.
What consumers need to know
As a consumer, it’s important to be aware of your rights and how GDPR affects the way companies handle your personal data. Here are some key things every consumer should know about GDPR:
- Your right to access – You have the right to request access to the personal data the Company holds about you. This lets you know what information the company has and how it is used.
- Your right to erasure – In certain circumstances, you can ask the Company to delete your personal data. This is especially important if you no longer want the Company to retain your information or if the Company no longer needs your information for the purpose for which it was collected.
- Your right to be informed – Companies must provide you with clear and transparent information about how they collect, store and use your personal data. This should be done in a way that is easy to understand and easily accessible.
- Your right to data portability – You have the right to request a copy of your personal data in a machine-readable format so that you can transfer it to another company if you choose.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has dramatically changed the way companies handle consumer data and given consumers more control over their personal information. By understanding your rights under the GDPR and how companies are required to protect your data, you can make more informed decisions about who to trust with your personal information. It is important that you stay informed about data protection laws and exercise your rights as a consumer to ensure that your personal data is treated in a fair, transparent and secure manner.