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Keeping Data Safe: What Is GDPR and How Does It Affect You?

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on 25 May. 

Published
Tech and Auto
2 min read

Video Editor: Cyrus John

Europe’s new data privacy law – GDPR – comes into effect from Friday, 25 May, and hundreds of companies are scrambling to change their privacy policies and rework how they handle consumer data.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) assumes importance in light of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data misuse fiasco.

And how does a European law affect you as a consumer here in India?

It’s a digitally connected world, so you will soon be receiving or probably have already received updated privacy policies from a number of companies. These policies state that your data cannot be used in any form, without your explicit consent. It means you will have to click a lot more ‘I accept’ buttons now!

For example, some privacy policy may have earlier stated that as part of the fine print in terms and conditions, you could receive marketing or promotional material. If you skipped through that part because it was not clear enough or forgot to uncheck a box, it means your data has been breached by the company. A pre-ticked check box is NOT considered consent under the GDPR.

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You have to explicitly give consent, with clearly written statements for such material. This also means those pesky newsletters and spam emails are likely to come down.

Also, if there has been a breach of your data, the company will have to notify a regulator within 72 hours, and if it’s serious enough, inform customers without delay.

Under the GDPR, you have the right to withdraw access to your data at any point in time, and companies will have to erase all records of it.

And you can bet companies will be scurrying to comply with the GDPR – even Indian digital companies – because data over the internet can be accessed anywhere in the world, including Europe. At the moment, the GDPR covers only Europe, but other countries will soon follow suit.

What you can expect over the next few days are many more simplified privacy policy updates and ‘I accept’ boxes to click. Just make sure you read them thoroughly.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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