New EU privacy laws grant consumers more control over personal data

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read
internet privacy laws

Tech giants have been facing quite a critical time regarding data practices lately. Companies such as Facebook, Mozilla and more are getting ready for a new European Union privacy law that will provide consumers extended control over personal data.

The law is the General Data Protection Regulation or simply the GDPR and it goes into effect across the European Union starting May 25. This new regulation is set to change what the companies can do with consumer data.

Companies will have limited control over user data

Customers will get more control over their data and also the opportunity to find out what exact information companies have about them.

The GDPR will also feature the “right to be forgotten” which basically means that consumers would be able to order web serviced to delete their information or stop sharing their data with third parties. GDPR will also require tech companies to offer consumers the ability to revoke consent for providing personal data.

More transparency from tech companies

This new regulation will also involve increased transparency from companies so that users can find out what they’re doing with their data. Tech companies will have to be more careful in building customers’ trust. Violations of the new rules would result in massive fines, 4% of a company’s global revenue or $24.6 million.

These regulations have been taken into consideration especially after the data scandal involving a political consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica tied to President Trump’s 2016 campaign which obtained personal data from about 50 million Facebook users improperly. This was seen as a threat to democracy and individual freedom.

Facebook and Mozilla’s policies are changing

Back in January, Facebook released new privacy principles in order to better inform its users on the company’s operations involving personal data. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company revealed that it would no longer allow using third-party data for targeted advertising.

According to Marshall Erwin, Mozilla’s trust and security director, the company rewrote its privacy policy as well to prepare for the new regulatory regime. For instance, Firefox will only collect a minimal amount of user data.

Most tech giants’ critics cannot wait for the EU law to come into effect, and they are urging regulations in the US to study this for crafting their own privacy rules as soon as possible.

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