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GDPR is a good thing. Let’s embrace it .

GDPR is a good thing – or the Data Protection Act 2017 will be when it comes into force later this year.

I’m actually looking forward to GDPR or the Data Protection Act 2017 as we need to think of it. It’s a good thing. I think it will be good for consumers, it will be good for businesses and it will be good for the UK.

GDPR is not new

GDPR is already law. Now I know a lot of people will be reading this who read about it in the Daily Telegraph this morning or heard it on one of the hundreds of news programs we have been listening to today.

But no, it isn’t new. It was signed off in April 2016 – only the fines are not active until 2018. So if you thought this was all new and then realise in a few weeks’ time just how long you have left to implement it, then I’m sorry.

GDPR comes into full force on May 25th 2018 and that means fines of up to €20M. So time to get going eh?

It’s mine not yours.

I have absolutely no problem with the new Act itself. Bring it on and let’s nail those people whose sole method of income is making money out of my personal data – especially without my permission.

And that’s the point. It’s my data. It’s not yours Experian; Google; Microsoft; Dunn & Bradstreet. You have no right to it. You have no right to decide how my data should be used. Only I have that right. And if I say I don’t want my name or email address or social security number given to every Tom, Dick & Harry in the name of economic freedom, you’d better not do it. Because I for one will jump all over you and I’ll be wearing big boots.

Yes, there are times when I want a company to have my information. These are the companies I want things off. They are people I have chosen to transact with because I believe they offer me a good service.

But I don’t want the fact that I fill in a warranty (whatever happened to the word guarantee?) card be a green light to so called data providers to sell it on to hundreds of companies over the next five years. And if the new Act stops that then that’s a good thing.

When did you last get a call from one of these companies asking if it was OK if they sold your data to someone else? I’m pretty sure never. Yes I’m sure you’ll have had a call at the company “Checking to see that their data was still valid” – in fact they are just using it as an opportunity to increase the amount of data they hold about you and your company. Because more data and more indicators means more revenue.

Changes to the way we work

Now as I said, I’m not against data list brokers per see. There are some very good ones out there who do a very good job, And I owe a major part of my living to them over the years (Thanks guys). No I’m against the really big boys. The ones who just farm data.

I have a colleague who was recently incensed to find a company emailing him on a private email address. He spent a couple of days (because that’s how anal we are in this office) tracking down where the data could have come from. He eventually tracked it down and found it had been supplied by one of the big five brokers. He rang them and asked them how they had managed to get hold of his name and email address and what did they think they were doing selling it on without his permission.  Their reply? “We can’t give you that information sir under the Data Protection Act”

Oh boy did they pick the wrong person to wrangle with!

So yes, I think that GDPR will be good for every consumer – be they private or business. Admittedly some of the big data providers are going to have to re-think their business plans.

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