Europe’s sweeping privacy rule was supposed to change the internet, but so far it’s mostly created frustration for users, companies, and regulators

May 05 11:41 2019 Print This Article
  • GDPR’s one-year anniversary is May 25.
  • The legislation gave numerous new privacy rights to consumers, and elevated the visibility of data protection professionals in the corporate world. 
  • But the law’s effectiveness in its first year is questionable, as some EU states struggle to staff regulatory offices, consumers become blind to an avalanche of privacy pop-up notices and companies struggle with new internal data bureaucracies.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation was celebrated as a revolution in how internet privacy could be legislated. It was a reaction to long-term concerns in the EU about information collection by tech giants like FacebookAlphabet and Apple.

Known as GDPR, the regulation gave sweeping new powers to individuals in how they can control their data, including the right to demand that companies tell them how their data is used, and to ask corporations to destroy their data, a tenet of the law known as “the right to be forgotten.”

The law also imposed the world’s stiffest potential privacy fines: Up to 20 million euros or 4% of a company’s global annual revenue for the previous year for the most egregious violations. For Facebook, such an upper-level fine could therefore feasibly reach $1.6 billion.

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GDPR Associates
GDPR Associates

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