What Does GDPR Mean? When Does It Start? New Privacy Laws Explained

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Are you among those whose inboxes are flooded by a deluge of emails from companies trying to hold on to their customers? Facebook is no exception.

It's anything but a happy General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) day for several major US news organizations as their websites are temporarily blocked in Europe as a new data privacy law goes into effect today.

Part of the GDPR statutes state that users should be able to opt-in or opt-out of specific policies when it comes to privacy and data collection, not either accept everything or be barred from using the product.

Had regulation like the GDPR existed before, Facebook users in the European Union would have had legal recourse to pushback against the social media network in the wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal, which led to more than 90 million Facebook users' data being compromised.

However, the group argues that the firms have threatened to no longer offer services to those who do not consent to new terms of service. There are still a few more things we will be implimenting, like to allowing you to download your data, but we think we have got there.

The GDPR clarifies and strengthens existing individual rights, such as the right to have one's data erased and the right to ask a company for a copy of one's data. GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of European Union citizens and mandates that they are allowed to access the data businesses have on them, modify it or even choose to have it deleted. One expert from the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave this example to the New York Times: "A birthday cake company needs your name to put on the birthday cake".

"Personal data is information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual".

The new data privacy law has some Europeans scratching their heads over what to do. When asked if USA users would have the same rights Europeans have to object to the use of data, Zuckerberg said, "I'm not sure how we're going to implement that yet". Meanwhile, Facebook and Google are already facing complaints over violations of the brand new regulations, thanks to privacy activists who were standing by to nail them as soon as GDPR went into effect.

These emails, coming from every company you've shared your email address with, will have ranged from asking you to acknowledge new Privacy Policies to companies wanting you to opt-in to continue receiving marketing information from them.

The right to object: If data is collected without consent but for legitimate business interests, for the public good, or by an official authority, the data subject can object. "Our work to improve people's privacy doesn't stop on May 25". If the law had gone into effect any earlier, Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal could have had even more dire consequences for the company. This means we could see class actions being brought to enforce our rights under the GDPR.

The punishment: The worst offenders can be fined up to 20 million euros ($23 million) or 4 percent of their revenue from the prior year, whichever is greater. Other companies are just telling you about their new privacy policy.