Wednesday, 15 August 2018
BREAKING NEWS
GDPR kicks in
28 May
12:22

New European privacy regulations went into effect on Friday that will force companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data.

The ramifications were visible from day one, with major U.S.-media outlets including the LA Times and Chicago Tribune were forced to shutter their websites in parts of Europe.

People in the bloc have been bombarded with dozens of emails asking for their consent to keep processing their data, and a privacy activist wasted no time in taking action against U.S. tech giants for allegedly acting illegally by forcing users to accept intrusive terms of service or lose access.

“You have to have a ‘yes or no’ option,” Austrian Max Schrems said before filing complaints in European jurisdictions. “A lot of these companies now force you to consent to the new privacy policy, which is totally against the law.”

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the bloc’s patchwork of rules dating back to 1995 and heralds an era where breaking privacy laws can result in fines of up to 4 percent of global revenue or 20 million euros (US$23.5 million), whichever is higher, as opposed to a few hundred thousand euros.

European privacy regulators signalled that they were ready to flex their muscles but were not “sanctioning machines”.

“This (forced consent) is an issue that we will be looking at immediately, and work is already underway,” said Helen Dixon, head of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which will be responsible for policing U.S. giants Facebook and Google, among others.

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