The EU Cracks Down On Tech Companies With New Privacy Laws
The EU just dropped a set of new privacy laws meant to stop tech companies and advertisers from shadily using our information. The regulations give power back to the people. This means we’ll have a better understanding as to what information they’ve collected and how they’re using it.
After Facebook got into big trouble for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a lot of people began sketching out, and for good reason. The scandal sparked a worldwide conversation on privacy laws.
Political Consultancy Group
In case don’t know the purpose of a political consultancy company: Cambridge Analytica was basically in the business of “influencing” elections. They were an organization in the business of electoral campaigns, using all kinds of voodoo, including personal relations strategies and marketing.
However, It’s not a malevolent practice.
But it’s not good for technology companies to sell off personal information without our consent. It’s worse to sell it off to businesses that are trying to influence government affairs.
What makes the case so bad, is that Facebook essentially sold our data to the highest bidder, with no regard as to what they used it for.
For years, Facebook has been compiling our data into individual packages associated with each user’s IP address(a person’s unique identifier online) and selling them off to the guy with the biggest wallet for the sake of marketing “personalized” advertisements.
Needless to say, after the world discovered what Facebook did, people were pissed.
The European Union
Despite the European Union’s terrible reputation, notably, in matters like immigration and economic policy, they’ve done some good here.
On the 25th of May, they’re rolling out a new set of laws called the “General Data Protection Regulation.”
It has a nice straight-forward ring to it.
Not only do the new privacy laws give rights back to the consumer like, for instance, getting rid of ridiculous legal jargon in the “terms of agreement” clause, but they also dish out big fines to these companies if they disobey the law.
The EU will fine any organizations caught breaking the privacy laws up to 4% of their global revenue, a significant sum. 4% of Facebook’s revenue is $1.6 billion, to put it into perspective.
What This Means For Us:
According to the New York Times, the effect of the law on people’s internet use within the 28 member-states of the European Union won’t be noticeable.
But, you might notice fewer advertisements following you around everywhere when you go on the internet. Before having any knowledge of how tech companies made their money, a lot of people would post things on social media about how strange it is when they search for something and then the same product shows up five minutes later on a new website.
It’s not your imagination. It’s actually happening, and it’s even weirder when someone you met recently pops up in your suggested friends’ list.
Additionally, it’s possible that the new regulations will “depersonalize” advertisements so they become less creepy, like TV advertisements, and billboards.
Moreover, a clause allowing consumers to ask tech companies what data they’ve collected gives customers the right to request its deletion. And the new regulations are meant to stop companies from roping them into legal contracts from which they can’t escape.
This looks like it might be a big win in the battle for privacy, but maybe not. Give your thoughts on what you think about EU’s new privacy laws in the comment’s section.