The EU is due to introduce new data protection regulations in May this year. But as all the major glaboal technology changes prepare for the new privacy rules, the question is: what will these new rules mean for European citizens? And why are they necessary?
Surveys have shown that an estimated two thirds of Europeans believe they don’t get enough control over the information they pos online. And a similar number have admitted that they don’t trust online companies and social media sites to protect their data properly.
The US figures tell a similar story. A survey carried out showed that 70% of American’s also feel that social media sites are not doing enough to keep their online data safe. So, what will these new regulations be doing to address these concerns the public have about the safety of their online information?
The new shake-up is one of the biggest overhauls of privacy rules we’ve seen since the start of the internet. One of the main goals of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) is to ensure free and easy access to user’s own information. It will also aim to enhance the users “right to be forgotten”.
Facebook, which currently has over 2 billion users, has also introduced a new transparency drive in preparation for the new regulations. For the first time since it was launched, the site has now published its privacy principles online so users can clearly see how their information is used.
Facebook’s privacy principles cover a range of issues, including how their data is used to show them adverts, what happens to old posts when they’re deleted and how their information is used after their account has been deleted. These principles, along with others, are not detailed in the terms and conditions that are agreed to when accounts are opened.
Facebook has also moved all its security settings to one page and is planning to post videos to help users control their information effectively. “We recognize that people use Facebook to connect, but not everyone wants to share everything with everyone — including with us,” Erin Egan, chief privacy officer at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.
Companies that fail to comply with these new regulations could face fines of up to 4% of their global turnover, or €20 million, whichever is greater. The EU will also give regulators more power to punish the use of online data by technology firms, including posts and searches.
Speaking in Brussels, Belgium, last week, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, said the company’s upcoming changes would give it “a very good foundation to meet all the requirements of GDPR and to spur us on to continue investing in products and in educational tools to protect privacy.”
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