GDPR – German Democratic Peoples’ Republic ?
General Data Protection Regulation. An EU Regulation which came into force on 25 May 2018. So, information about us online is safe now ? Allegedly yes.
Who does the GDPR affect?
The GDPR not only applies to organisations located within the EU but it will also apply to organisations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU data subjects.
Earlier in the year we were bombarded with snail mail and email from businesses seeking to assure us that they were complying with this new regulation and our personal details would be safe with them.
What constitutes personal data?
The GDPR applies to ‘personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier. This definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, including name, identification number, location data or online identifier, reflecting changes in technology and the way organisations collect information about people.
This sounds good, but in at least one letter received here there was the tell tale paragraph which said something like, ” We will never divulge any information about you that we hold except . . . ” The list of exceptions was long, I think I counted about seventeen sub paragraphs, but the real sting came when you read each of those. There might be an organisation to which information must be revealable but then those organisations might have other organisations to which they also must reveal information if asked. And those organisations included various Government agencies, so I came to the conclusion that in effect our private information is up for grabs. And you only need one or two organisations like Cambridge Analytica to harvest where they, morally speaking, shouldn’t and GDPR becomes a dead letter.
We ourselves moved house a year ago. Our “change of address” endeavours have in the main been successful. The big failure has been the inability to, or lack of interest in, the cancelling the old address shown by various firms*, so that we keep getting two copies of catalogues. We have maintained a Royal Mail redirection service since we moved (originally set up for six months, we had to extend it to a year) but this runs out on 20th August, but I suspect the people now living in our old house will get unwanted mail for some time yet.