Recently, the EU introduced legislation which strictly limits the scope for companies to essentially steal your data. Ironically, this led to perhaps the most significant case of spam in the history of the internet! Regardless, it is now imperative that your business is GDPR compliant, and in this blog, we will shed some light on precisely what is required of you and how we can help.
What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It was introduced by the EU in order to safeguard the public’s information as what happens with your data becomes an increasingly discussed and controversial topic.
Although introduced by the European Union, the British government has stated that regardless of what happens in the Brexit negotiations the regulations will be adopted into British Law.
Why is GDPR Important?
In this day and age, almost every part of your life can be tracked and stored. From where you like to eat, what you ‘like’ and follow on social media, how many steps you have taken in a day and where you are going, down to the very things you capture photos of.
Companies can use this information for a range of activities. On the more benevolent end of the scale, YouTube will use it to make suggestions of what you might want to watch. At the other end, companies like Cambridge Analytica can use the information to influence foreign elections.
The legislation has been described as giving ordinary people unprecedented control over the information companies hold on us. While some people view it as a method for massive corporations to regain the trust of consumers, others see it as a method of safeguarding ourselves from widespread manipulation.
Either way, you should notice a significant drop in the amount of spam in your inbox.
How Does GDPR Affect Companies?
With GDPR now rolled out, companies within the EU, and anyone storing the data of EU customers, now have new responsibilities in regards to storing your data.
Firstly, they must prove that they have a lawful reason to be storing your data. They must also be more upfront about exactly what data they are going to be collecting.
One of the biggest changes you will notice is the end of checkboxes which are designed to be deliberately confusing and manipulative. Companies do this in an effort to get you to offer up more of your personal information than you want to.
One of the biggest tricks in the book, now no longer legal, was to have a checkbox that read something like “I consent to offer up X data” that was already pre-ticked. Now companies can only collect and store that data if the customer has chosen to tick that box themselves.
With this new responsibility for data, companies are also required to keep it incredibly safe and secure. This is to avoid another scandal, as has been so prevalent recently, of data falling into the wrong hands.
Moreover, if data is stolen, companies have three days to inform you of the data leak. If they do not, there can be severe punishments.
How Can Companies Be Punished?
If companies are found to be repeatedly ignoring GDPR legislation, then the repercussions can be incredibly severe. The fines can be anything up to 4% of your yearly profit, meaning that larger companies can face fines of several million pounds.
How Do I Make Sure I am Compliant?
There are two main factors when it comes to GDPR Compliance:
- Transparency in regards to what customer data you are storing
- Safe and secure digital security for any information you do store
To address the first feature, you need to make sure that all of your contact forms are straightforward and easy to understand. There are a number of tricks which used to be legal, if unethical, in regards to gathering data which are now outlawed.
In addition, you have to make sure that your website, and wherever you store customer information, has a certain level of security which will make it difficult for hacking and manipulation.
At Soapbox Digital, for a reasonable set fee, we will make sure that you are completely covered from any possible GDPR legal repercussions.
Get in Touch
GDPR compliance is complicated, and the punishments for breaking regulations are severe. However, changing your website to fit in with the rules is not easy for someone not particularly skilled with technology, and it can be an unwelcome distraction when you have a business to run.
At Soapbox Digital, we have helped a number of businesses of all size to make sure they stay on the right side of the legislation. To make sure that your website follows suit, give us a call now on 0141 429 1356.