What Effect Does GDPR Have On You As A Consumer?

It is overwhelming that there is a significant lack of knowledge among UK consumers/users about GDPR, and the rights it grants them , from several surveys carried out by several reliable bodies it is apparent that approximately 15% of the United Kingdom population are aware of GDPR. In writing this post does not mean l am a GDPR Advocate, Solicitor or Lawyer but looking to ensure organisations and consumers are aware of the implications of GDPR as of MAY 25 2018.

If you are in that large group (85% approximately) of people unaware and not sure of GDPR and the noise being made about it, here are ways GDPR is giving you back control over your personal data:

1. Increased transparency and active consent. With the new GDPR legislation, you have a right to transparency over how your personal data is used. Before organisations can use your data, you will need to give ‘informed’ consent, which could include ticking a check box manually in a form – previously organisations could get this through the provision of a pre-ticked check box. Make no mistake, it’s still important for you to carefully read the terms and conditions of what you’re agreeing to, it’s always tempting to click while closing our eyes without properly reviewing the terms and conditions, but doing so means you don’t know what you’re signing up to leaving your self open. The next point should mean these are now easier to understand.

2. The right to be informed. You will have a right to be informed about how businesses are using your personal data, in a concise, transparent, intelligible and accessible way. In the past, businesses may have got away with providing privacy information that was ambiguous or confusing – GDPR makes it clear that they can’t do this anymore.

3. The right to access. You’ll be able to easily access the personal data businesses hold on you. While the Data Protection Act requires that you pay £10 to access your data, GDPR means you will be able to get a copy of this information free of charge. GDPR clearly states that you will need to be given this information quickly – within one month of  you asking.

4. The right to be forgotten. Under the current Data Protection Act, you are only able to get businesses to erase data if it causes unwarranted substantial damage or distress. Under GDPR, there are more reasons you can ask for a deletion of personal data – including the withdrawal of consent which mean you can change your initial consent.

5. The right to data portability. This means when you request a full overview of the data an organisation holds on you, it must be presented in a way that could be provided to another company to re-use the data. This means that a print-out on paper, or using an inaccessible form of data such as a difficult to use spreadsheet, is not allowed. It must be easy to understand for all parties involved.

What you could lose

It’s incredibly paramount that as a consumer, you are given more control over your personal data clearly meaning it’s personal and can be used in a variety of ways for marketing and business intelligence. However, this is not to say there are no benefits for the businesses storing your data.

How many times have you seen an advert for a sale at a store you like, which you didn’t know about? It’s quite a common occurrence, and only possible because a business has stored information revealing which stores you shop at. Often online stores will also suggest items you may be interested in, based on past purchases. These uses of our data can improve our shopping experiences and make us a more frequent or loyal customer.

So, while GDPR means you are able to demand your data be deleted, you shouldn’t be in a rush or excited to do so. Importantly, GDPR is about giving you power over your personal data, and letting you know what is being done with it. This will help you make decisions about the businesses you share your data with, and improve our relationships with them, safe in the knowledge your data is safe.

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