How GDPR Dictates to Handle Users Information Online

Society | August 10, 2021, Tuesday // 14:54
Bulgaria: How GDPR Dictates to Handle Users Information Online pixabay.com

The collection and processing of personal information from individuals living in the European Union are governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is a legal framework providing the essential guidelines that need to be adhered to.

The regulations in the GDPR apply to all websites irrespective of where they are based if they have visitors from the EU, even if they don’t supply goods and services to them. Thus, many websites remain unavailable to users in the EU.

The GDPR makes it mandatory that EU visitors are given several data disclosures. To facilitate EU user rights, a website must also do everything necessary to notify a breach of personal data within a reasonable time. The GDPR became effective only in May 2018, following a two-year transition period after its adoption in April 2016.

The consequences of breaking GDPR can be rather severe, and Amazon is one of the companies that learned this the hard way. Recently, it received an 6 million fine for processing personal data in violation of GDPR. Thus, regulators seem to take a stricter approach when it comes to verifying compliance.

GDPR Requirements

As per the GDPR guidelines, any visitor to a site must be duly notified of the data collected from them, to which he should give his explicit consent. Such consent may be in the form of a click on an ‘agree’ button or any other action indicating the visitor’s permission. This exact requirement is behind the disclosure sites make about collecting cookies, which are small logs containing information like preferences.

The sites also need to be very particular about notifying visitors of any data breach within a reasonable time. These requirements may require stricter adherence in the EU than where the sites are located, where the jurisdiction may be comparatively lax. An evaluation of the site’s data security has also been made mandatory, and it’s also to be decided whether there’s a need to hire a data protection agent.

Visitors must have easy access to details on how one can communicate with the DPO and other relevant officials to exercise their data rights granted by the GDPR. Visitors must also be given the right to erase their data from any site at any moment they want to. The site should have adequate staff to carry out these requests made by visitors.

Who Does GDPR Apply to?

Personal data is at the core of GDPR. Any information that may help identify any person directly or indirectly constitutes personal data. It may be obvious things like a person's name, location, or username, or something a little less apparent like IP addresses or cookie identifiers. The GDPR gives certain categories of personal data greater protection, and this includes information like an individual’s health history, sexual orientation, political leanings, religious beliefs, race or ethnicity, and more.

The crucial element in personal data is that such data can help identify a person, and it includes pseudonymized data as well. Individuals, companies, and organizations controlling or processing personal data come under the purview of GDPR.

The Information Commissioner’s Office says that the main decision-makers are those who control why and how personal data shall be processed. There may also be groups, two or more than jointly manage personal data. Those who process personal data act on the instructions of those who control the data. As such, it’s the controllers who have stricter obligations under GDPR than the processors.

We connect with the world super fast through the internet. However, it’s not always safe. Despite our personal data being protected by legislation like the GDPR, there’s always the risk of falling victim to cybercrime. Your privacy and security are under constant threat. Let’s look into these threats.

Spying and Snooping

When you are online, trackers constantly monitor you. Your online surfing may be monitored to create your profile for targeted advertising. However, tracking is not the only danger your data faces. Unsecured connections, vulnerable apps, outdated tools, and overall dangerous browsing habits can compromise your data.

Information Mishandling

You often have to share personal information on specific sites to access the services there, as in banking sites. Some of these sites store cookies, which save your personal information used later for various purposes. As this information isn’t encrypted, it may be accessed by nefarious elements leading to serious consequences.

Ways to Protect Yourself

GDPR does a lot, but it cannot be the only reassurance you have that your data is safe. Incidents happen, and, for instance, unsecured connections could lead to your data being stolen.

There are many solutions you can explore to add more security to your digital life. For one, you can no longer use Google Chrome, which still supports third-party cookies. Tools like Mozilla Firefox offer more protections against it, in addition to other privacy perks. If you want to ensure that all data travels safely online, you can use tools like Atlas VPN. It is a VPN app that will encrypt information about your browsing, leaving no room for entities to spy on you.

Conclusion

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed to control and monitor the sharing of personal data on websites. It seeks to give individual users certain rights they can exercise to protect their online privacy. Thus, all users should know what they can and cannot require from companies.

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