Happy GDPR Day!

Pop those bottles and drop those balloons from the ceiling, it’s May 25th, aka, GDPR Day! Today the General Data Protection Regulation goes into full effect in Europe. For us Americans it doesn’t mean too much, unless you happen to work somewhere that does business with European clients or otherwise manages data records of EU citizens (in which case GDPR has been a pain to implement on your systems), but as controversial as the GDPR is, perhaps this law will be a watershed moment in online data privacy regulations.

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Or it will be a money maker for the European Union once they start fining business enmasse for not adhering to the regulation, which they can completely do as of today. Most of the big data companies out there have already brought their systems within the law, you can track many of them using GDPRTracker.io, but still many more will fly under the radar until they either get sued or determine they have enough money to settle any lawsuits and will continue to leave their systems vulnerable and their information on you exposed. Maybe GDPR Hall of Shame will help shed light on these groups and offenders.

While there are some controversial provisions in the law, such as the “right to be forgotten”, this framework for protecting citizens from companies who will gladly capture your information but can’t be arsed to safeguard it from abuse is a first in our connected world. I would hope we see where it succeeds and where it fails and be able to craft our own cyber-rights law. I’m not going to hold my breath here, there are too many corporate interests at stake and too many millions to lose potentially, not to mention enforcement of US regulations (especially against large businesses) are virtually nonexistent. Perhaps the sting of GDPR fines from our European friends will help shift our country’s priorities, only time (and money) will tell.

But for now, I’m hopeful and excited. Happy GDPR Day everyone! 🎂

EDIT: Looks like Facebook and Google have been hit with a total of $8.8 billion dollars in fines today. Let’s get this party started!

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