The impending arrival of the EU General Data Protection Regulation is requiring businesses to implement changes. Find out more in our mini blog series, which takes a positive approach to the subject of GDPR whilst making it all a bit more approachable.

You’ve probably heard of the Facebook data leaks and Cambridge Analytica by now. Trailing this major user data scandal headline, GDPR and ePrivacy will gain more momentum and credibility.

Subsequently to the Facebook incident, concerns have been raised amongst users about what is being done with their data. The uncovering of the Cambridge Analytica story has provided a much needed wake up call to businesses that may have been lulled into complacency and a false sense of security over any vagueness associated with these new regulations, which come into effect in May 2018.

You may have also heard the phrase ‘Data is the New Oil’ - a controversial statement that has been subject to much debate. Although, there are vital differences between the power of tech firms today and the oil barons of a century ago, data is being used to power some of today’s most transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence. In fact, data is influencing how decisions are being made through the power of predictive analytics - and the impact is immense.

On one hand, as a user you are compliant to the terms and conditions you agreed to.  Facebook’s business model is based around individuals engaging on their platform for free.  But, in return the company uses the individuals data, which becomes the commodity. Many insights can be gained from our interactions online, but where do you draw the line? Cambridge Analytica’s breach of user data to influence political marketing campaigns, has had consequences on a global political level -  this is a whole new ballgame.

Facebook: What Went Wrong?

Let’s look at what else went wrong with Facebook….

Revealing sensitive personal information without consent is a complete violation of privacy. Mark Zuckerberg has been highly criticized for his initial silence and his later apology which diverted most of the blame to Cambridge Analytica. So, who should really be held accountable? The fact of the matter is that without data protection and regulation laws firmly in place, the lines are blurred; further pointing towards the positive implications and necessity of GDPR.

The whole #FacebookGate incident has highlighted the need for a professional procedure to be put in place in case of a breach or incident. Branding expert Chris Sojka expressed how Facebook should have responded immediately in the aftermath with “switched gears to radical transparency, [launching] a public service advocacy campaign educating users on the ways in which people might phish for their information and setting up an easily accessible apparatus to combat abuse of their platform.”

How Does GDPR Come Into it?

As a user, are you really compliant if the terms and conditions you agreed to are incomprehensible and 57 pages long? This is where GDPR is important. In the new regulations business MUST break down their terms and conditions into an easily digestible format.

GDPR will also mean that companies will have to respond within an appropriate time frame. When it comes to reporting a breach, notification is to be mandatory within 72 hours in all member states.

GDPR means more accountability and it is good practise to brief all departments of your company on the changes required. The communications and PR teams will be the ones releasing statements, customer service reps and community managers will be reassuring customers and answering questions following a breach -  it is not a matter just for the IT department.

A More Hopeful Future With GDPR

Although GDPR may initially seem like a long and boring topic, it points towards a more secure and hopeful future with a culture of privacy and consent becoming the norm. GDPR will bring back clarity to the identity conversation.  A whole new era of data regulation is likely on it’s way.

Read the Okappy series on GDPR which takes you from getting ready for GDPR right through to reporting data breaches. Make sure you reference reliable sources when seeking out facts surrounding GDPR in particular the Information Commissioner's Office has more relevant information about GDPR.

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