Recently you may have noticed a surge in emails or onsite notifications from web site and app administrators alerting you to updated terms of service and reminding you about privacy settings. This has left many people wondering, “Why this sudden outpouring of concern for my online safety and security?” After all, countless data breaches and cases of questionable data mining have already been publicized and concern over online privacy has been growing for years.
The answer can be summed up in one word: legislation. In April of 2016, Governments in Europe passed the General Data Protection Act that, after a two-year transition period, took effect on May 25, 2018. Broadly speaking, this Act governs the collection and storage of personally-identifiable data of individuals inside the European Union and affects all enterprises doing business inside the European Economic Area, regardless of their location.
Highlights of the Act include:
- Companies must explicitly seek consent before collecting personal data from consumers and declare the lawful basis and purpose for doing so. (I.e. Consumers must consciously “opt-in” rather than dig to “opt-out” of data collection.)
- Companies must give consumers an accessible way to see the data that been collected on them.
- Companies must provide consumers with an option to delete their data.
- Companies are given a strict deadline, 72 hours, to inform consumers when there has been a data breach.
The agreement does not directly apply to American citizens, but it forces U.S. companies that handle the data of E.U. citizens to change their policies to be in compliance. This affects global brands like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and many more. Companies who have not updated their policies can choose to go dark to E.U. traffic or risk hefty penalties.
While this is a good opportunity for people to address some of their privacy concerns, it’s still not obvious what the next steps should be. We’ve all seen pages-long privacy policies whenever we sign on for a service, but most of us are overwhelmed by the legalese. Who has the time to sort through such a mess of information? Just tell me exactly what I need to do!
That’s why when I found this fantastic article from the Washington Post outlining how to change some egregious default privacy settings in five of the most popular applications (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple), I immediately shared it with my Go2s. This is the kind of super-helpful information that I don’t want people to miss, and I know I can rely on Go2s to deliver my announcement to everyone in my network, every time, without algorithms interfering. I decide what’s important to share and Go2s gets the job done.