The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a sweeping law that takes effect later this week, is a big deal. How big? According to Google search volume, it’s bigger than Beyoncé:
It’s an impressive feat for EU legislation, not least because Beyoncé’s Instagram account has more than 100 million followers, and her Twitter page has 15 million. The EU’s Luxembourg-based law database, by contrast, boasts a mere 22,000 followers on Twitter and 120,000 on Facebook. Normally, the Beyhive, as fans of the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist are known, make their presence felt online more than people combing through the 99 articles and 21 footnotes that comprise Europe’s new data-privacy law.
But these are not normal times. Any website that collects personal data of users in the EU needs to make sure it satisfies GDPR’s strictures as of May 25, when the law comes into effect. Thus, the frantic searches for information about it this week.
GDPR compels companies to get explicit permission from users to use their information. It also applies to companies outside the bloc that have customers in Europe. If you live in the EU, or frequent websites or subscribe to newsletters with users from the EU, this is why you’re getting so many e-mails from companies that want to keep you on their contact lists.
Among other things, companies must give customers the scope to inspect, correct, and delete records if they wish, and some firms are also required to appoint a “data-protection officer.” Regulators will have the authority to fine those who don’t adhere to the rules, up to a maximum of 4% of a company’s global revenue.
Put another way, the protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data has got people lookin’ so crazy right now.