New European Union Law Promotes Online Data Privacy

New European Union Law Promotes Online Data Privacy

The  European Union will soon implement a new regulation that aims to promote online data privacy. Experts say that it will change the way third party data trackers gather and process information sourced from millions of Internet users in the region.

Effective starting on May 25 this year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is considered as a landmark law that sets online data privacy by default.  It defines personal data more broadly, highlighting the ownership of individuals to the trail of data that they leave online.

How the GDPR promotes online data privacy

Third party data which are presently deemed anonymous such as cookies, IP addresses and device IDs, amongst others, will soon be re-classified as personal data belonging to users. As such, these details will now have the same safeguards like other identifiable information such as user name, mobile number, date of birth, email addresses, among others.

Presently, third-party data are tracked and traded by data brokers online to firms involved in businesses such as database management, credit scoring, and marketing technology.

The GDPR’s introduction to the principle of consent is seen to be a major blow to these data brokers. It particularly specifies that personal data can only be collected, processed and shared when their owners explicitly consent so. Owners, too, must agree to specific uses of their personal data including the sale of the info to third parties.

GDPR set rules on processing online data

The GDPR also specifies that the consent that data owners have should be clearly specified and not buried in ambiguous terms and conditions. Experts believe that this new rule will lead to a greater awareness among Internet users about how their personal data is used.

It is believed that with the implementation of this new rule, online users will likely see pop-up boxes in the websites they are visiting explicitly asking their consent to have their personal data processed and sold.

This landmark law is seen to be a crucial step towards building an Internet regime that practices the principles of transparency, trust, and consent.