In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. The new rules apply to the way companies protect and handle information collected from citizens living in European Union (EU) countries.
However, about 75 percent of brands see GDPR as a challenge to implement, and around 42 percent of brand websites still aren’t GDPR compliant. Taking steps toward protecting the personal data of consumers is a positive change, but the results of GDPR won’t appear until most sites come on board and figure out the best ways of protecting data.
The impact of GDPR on the web industry is multifaceted. Here are seven ways GDPR creates a change online and predictions for where the regulations will go in the future.
1. Making Information Clearer to Consumers
Think through the reading level of your average customers and stay away from legal style language. If you need a lawyer to translate the policy for you, then it needs to be rewritten so your users understand it upon first glance.
2. Creating Policies
3. Fixing Security Holes
One of the elements of the GDPR includes a responsibility for companies to keep information secure. Appoint a data protection officer (DPO) and ensure they have the tools needed for secure data storage. The DPO serves as a point of contact for consumers with questions about how their data is stored.
4. Including Subscription Forms
5. Adding Better Accessibility
6. Changing Data Sharing
The new rules require companies to outline how information is shared with third parties. This change is both positive and negative. Consumers’ information is more secure because companies are less likely to sell data without informing their subscribers of the possibility. However, fears of regulatory laws limit how two or more companies work together and share data between themselves, reducing promotional opportunities for businesses.
7. Reducing Invasion of Privacy
The GDPR is changing the invasion of privacy perpetrated by companies such as Google and Facebook. In the past, you had no choice but to accept their demands to access all sorts of personal information to use their platforms.
However, Facebook and Google face $8.8 billion lawsuits for not giving users a way to use their platform and still opt out of sharing information such as what types of searches they’re conducting. Specifically, they’re in trouble for their predictive search bars that show users what others have searched for.
The GDPR forces big brands into considering the privacy of the average Internet user. Although this is a pro for consumers, it’s likely going to change the way you use Facebook and Google’s search engines.
Some brands balk at initiating a bunch of new policies and following regulations when they aren’t even located in an EU country. Already, a few brands have refused to do business with consumers in the EU. Opponents point to the vague language of the GDPR as an area of concern. However, expanding into global business provides you with an additional customer base you otherwise wouldn’t have. Once the cases against giants Facebook and Google complete, rules should be a bit clearer and help smaller brands understand what changes they need to implement.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.