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US and Europe have different ideas about data and privacy

Author: Nigel Tozer / Source: BetaNews

With a recent, but less publicized executive order from President Trump, there are things happening on both sides of the Atlantic with regard to personal data, and it looks like the US and the EU have very different ideas about which direction to take.

We all leave a digital trail these days, just going about our daily business. Much of it we don’t think about, and we often consciously choose to trade this personal data ourselves, in exchange for free services. Think about it, your Internet searches, social media, the websites you visit and your location while you’re doing it, even exercise activity and your home heating usage via a smart thermostat, all have data harvested and monetized by big business.

Much of this you might not care about, but personal medical records, mental health, legal records, finance etc. or other areas probably cross the line for you, it’s personal after all. The trouble is, the lines between what’s shared and what’s kept truly private are blurring.

Some camps think that the pendulum has swung too far in favor of business, and that there should be a rebalancing with more power handed back to the individual. While this view can be found in the US as well, it’s the EU that has chosen to legislate to protect its citizens. This comes in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018.

GDPR is a big deal. It has been described as the “biggest overhaul of data protection regulation ever undertaken,” and, despite being a European Union initiative, it has profound implications for any businesses operating in the EU or with European customers.

It is a new set of regulations that is being rolled out across the European Union in just 12 months’ time, and, according to the law-makers, “aims to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data driven world.” Organizations trading with EU nations will need to comply and failure to do so will see them face fines of up to four percent of annual global turnover or €20 million.

While there’s certainly growing awareness of the arrival of, and the importance of GDPR, many are concerned that the regulators are running well ahead of the business community, who are not as prepared as they should be. GDPR is far reaching, and for many will require investment in time and…

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