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Data Privacy in 2019 – GDPR gets real while calls for US regulation heats up

The call for stronger data privacy continues to grow as the collection of our personal data expands. Between search engines, personal assistants, social media and smartphones, there is a sea of information about each of us – things we like, people we know, groups we participate in, career history and even our current location.

For years we handed over this information in exchange for the benefits of such tools, but there were concerns. Those concerns developed into regulations last year with the launch of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for organizations that conduct any amount of business in Europe. These regulations help to limit exposure of the personal data of Europeans while also giving them transparency into who currently has access to their information as well as the ability to have their records fully erased from the databases of these organizations.

Data Privacy

GDPR gets real – first major penalty issued

Although the GDPR compliance deadline of May 25, 2018 has passed, many organizations are still grappling with the data governance challenges it has created. If you’re one of those organizations, now is a good time to accelerate your efforts.

From an article in the Washington Post in late January, French regulators issued of fine of $57 million to a U.S. tech company – the first major violation of GDPR. According to regulators the company failed to properly disclose to users how their personal information was collected and processed, and it also did not properly obtain users’ consent for showing them personalized ads.

The French ruling could be seen as a signal of tougher their scrutiny of US tech giants to come as well as Europe’s overall willingness to enforce GDPR. If your organization is still behind on GDPR, it’s worth taking steps to get into compliance before risking hefty fines. We have two GDPR-focused eBooks to help get you started:

Calls for data privacy regulations in the US

The same week as the Washington Post article, Time Magazine cover story took a hardline look at the risk of data privacy in social media. In its main featured article about the need to fix social media before it’s too late, author Roger McNamee calls out how social media remains a threat to privacy. He states, “users need to own their data and have absolute control over how it gets used. Users have a right to know the name of every organization and person who has their data.”

In the same issue of Time, Tim Cook pens an editorial that calls for comprehensive data privacy laws in the U.S., “It’s time for action on privacy – we all deserve control over our digital lives.” He stated that he and others were calling on U.S. Congress to pass federal privacy legislation. Like GDPR, the main principles guiding the legislation they seek are:  the right to have personal data minimized, the right to know what data is being collected and why, the right to access, correct and delete your data and lastly, the right to data security.

With this kind of awareness and visibility around an issue that affects us all, it’s only a matter of time before data privacy regulations modeled after GDPR become the global standard. For more on GDPR adoption in other regions, check out our recent interview with Paige Bartley, a senior analyst at Ovum and GDPR expert.

If you want to learn more about GDPR, be sure to read our eBook on Data Quality-Driven GDPR.

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