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The Policy Email Flood of 2018

Unless you are off the grid or somehow have managed to not live and die by your email, you have probably spent the day deleting a slew of “Policy change” emails from literally every website you have ever visited, purchased from or followed. For many, the influx of email is reminiscent of Y2K… These emails are in response to the four letter acronym, GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation which is a new set of standards that have been brought in by the European Parliament, giving citizens more control of their data.

The GDPR applies to any organization that collects, processes, manages or stores the data of European citizens and it becomes LAW on Friday, May 25th.

The new legislation means that European users need to ‘opt in’ to allow their personal data to be processed but a number of companies are asking U.S. citizens to agree to updated privacy policies to prepare for what is likely coming to the U.S. Companies also need to be specific about what will happen with this data and if there is a breach, it needs to be reported within 72 hours.

U.S. citizens can enjoy similar rights, just not at the “legal level.” However the investment that global companies have had to make to be in compliance means that these media companies are reshaping the way they approach user data as a whole. The biggest change U.S users will see is just that inbox number continue to rise as companies send policy change notifications.

For media companies who can’t get it together in time for the law, one of the consequences could be that E.U. users will miss out on some great content because for some the fines, investment and consequences are too great to risk so they won’t make content available to European consumers.

The costs are significant and apply to companies with 250+ or more employees, many that have had to invest in technology and policy pros just to be in compliance.  

All of this sets the stage of course for new approaches to managing data overall.  Companies like Vertical Mass, which manages data for sports, entertainment and music properties, are helping artists and organizations take ownership of data. That means centralizing and protecting not just the data but the relationship between consumers. It means cleaning out the tracking pixels put on a site by a random web designer or vendor under the guise of optimization. And it means providing cleaner protocols for how data is used.

In the end it is a good thing, because it is forcing everyone to take stalk of their inventory, their liabilities and ultimately seize the opportunities data provides to deepen connections with consumers and make smarter business decisions.

Even Zuckerberg thinks it is a good idea, “I think the GDPR in general is going to be a very positive step for the internet,” Zuckerberg told US lawmakers, going on to discuss Facebook’s plans to tighten data policies, protect users from further leaks and become more transparent about who’s advertising on the site.

If nothing else, the GDPR tweets are entertaining: