New Legislation Protects Online Personal Data of European Union Residents

June 26, 2018

May 25 was somewhat of a digital judgment day” that sent shockwaves throughout the marketing world. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR for short) ushered in a new era of responsibility and accountability with the ratification of legislation that regulates the collection of the public’s online data. The laws protect only EU residents for now, but U.S. marketers clearly need to take notice.

Many of us remember the so-called Y2K bug that was sure to bring about the apocalypse and usher in a new dystopian future that would change life as we know it. Could history now be repeating itself? If you’ve kept up on pop culture you’ve heard the term “With great power comes great responsibility.” As marketers, we have been gifted the great power of over abundant and intrusive data. This abundance of data is provided to us through such seemingly innocuous means as online surveys, department store membership sign ups, loan applications, social media accounts and most commonly cookie data collected through web browsing. This gives marketers the ability to target people as they are in-market to make purchases on every device they own and collect data on which apps they use on their cell phones the most. Marketers have been able to virtually feast on far more data than previously thought possible, almost knowing our target audiences better than their actual friends and family do.

In early 2016, new legislation was ratified to help protect the personal data of European Union residents. This new legislation became enforceable on May 25 of this year. “Personal data” is defined as any information relating to a person who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person. In simpler terms, this means that in order to personally target potential customers, advertisers have to get verified consent before collecting or using a person’s data for marketing.

I know you’re thinking, “How does this affect me? I don’t live in Europe and am not directly affected by their legal mandates.” While that may effectively be true, we live in an increasingly global society and International Digital information providers such as Google, Facebook, and many popular DSP’s have already begun changing their policies on how they collect and distribute data worldwide. This is a necessary step to ensure that they don’t violate the GDPR as EU travelers and vacationers could potentially have their data collected in countries such as the United States, where these restrictions are not in place.

Understandably this new age of Great Digital Data responsibility can seem a bit intimidating to navigate. In fact, this has enough anxiety and hype associated with it to rival the infamous Y2K doom and gloom that we all somehow survived. As your digital partner, Oxford Communications has ensured that it is well prepared for these changes. Below you can also find a link to an independent checklist made by a small team from Belgium that breaks down the law and all of its terms and components in a simple and easy to understand format.