You’re a hermit if you’re unaware of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that came into effect on 25th May! GDPR is about privacy and harmonisation of regulations across Europe for the safeguarding of personal information. It impacts all organisations that process your personal data. Corporates, government departments, charities and even small businesses have spent lots of money getting ready. The Badger, like you no doubt, has experienced one manifestation of this, namely a plethora of emails from organisations asking the Badger to take one action or another, sometimes simply to confirm they can still have the Badger’s email address in a mailing list!
The Badger thinks GDPR is a good thing. Why? Well, a few years ago the Badger had some responsibility for security and data protection and, to be frank, it was an uphill struggle to get data protection high up on executive priority lists. GDPR and a number of highly public data breaches have changed this, mainly because the business, financial and reputational consequences of being found wanting are now very onerous.
GDPR, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica affair, and Zuckerberg’s rather bland sessions with US and EU committees have brought the importance of personal information, its use by social media platforms, and the power of those that control them into rather sharp public focus. Awareness of how platforms can use what you do on a platform has risen very significantly, and the public is realising for the first time just how much these platforms know about how they go about their daily life. Millennials and children at school seem to run their lives through social media platforms, and the Badger has often wondered if they ever stop to think about the wider ramifications of their posts and the insight their posts and usage provides to organisations that do not appear in their circle of friends.
The Badger isn’t anti-social media. Far from it. The Badger uses various platforms, but always carefully and selectively. So what point is the Badger making here? It’s simple. We are the public, and – regardless of age, wealth, ethnicity, culture, or social standing – our personal information is just that, it’s ours. This means we all have some personal responsibility for who we give it to, what we post and share, and for understanding how it might ultimately be analysed and used. GDPR reinforces this point! Privacy education from an early age is crucial and will, no doubt, be boosted by the new regulations and the fact that politicians have woken up to potential manipulation of your social media data for anti-democratic purposes. So, the Badger hopes that we – the people at large – not only become more thoughtful, caring and protective of the information we share, but also use the power granted to us by the new regulations. Long live Getting the Disparate Public to take more Responsibility for its personal data and for holding organisations to account via the new regulations…