The Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted in May 2018. This law was one of the most revolutionary attempts to strengthen privacy rights in the European Union. Many experts are still trying to determine how effective the law has been.
The GDPR has provided some important safeguards to consumers in the European Union and abroad. Since all companies that cater to European consumers must abide by these regulations, consumers outside of the European Union can still benefit from them when accessing global websites.
Unfortunately, the GDPR may have made some consumers complacent about protecting their online privacy. Consumers need to be aware of the risks and take appropriate measures. Here are some things to think about.
Data privacy risks remain a concern after the passage of the GDPR
Nobody denies that the GDPR has introduced some important new privacy safeguards that were overlooked by the Data Protection Directive. However, there are still important privacy risks that consumers need to be aware of. Some of the biggest risks are listed below.
Subjective interpretation of loopholes listed under the GDPR
The GDPR has included some important limitations that all consumers need to be aware of. The biggest loopholes involve incidents where consumers could be considered suspects or witnesses to criminal or civil cases.
Given the wide range of laws passed in the European Union, this loophole could be interpreted very liberally. A lot of laws are interpreted very subjectively, such as the hate speech legislation used throughout the European Union. Companies that collect data could be overly cautious about making sure they retain all evidence of a crime. If they have to choose between being sanctioned for failing to abide by the GDPR or being accused of being an accessory to a crime, then they will probably choose the former. Also, they realize that they probably have a strong defense if they say they didn’t respond to a data deletion request if they thought they were legally obligated to retain data for a potential legal investigation.
Companies could use these loopholes to rationalize ignoring the spirit of the GDP are in many different cases. It is difficult to know how this might happen, but you should err on the side of caution and consider the need for more stringent data protection safeguards on your own end.
Dealing with International companies that ignore GDPR obligations
Any company that is based in a country that has trade agreements with the European Union is legally compelled to follow the directives outlined under the GDPR. However, there are a couple of reasons that companies outside the European Union might neglect to abide by these restrictions:
- The GDPR has not received as much publicity outside the European Union. Companies based abroad might not know much about the requirements.
- Even though they are legally obligated to abide by the laws, they might think they are safe from having them enforced hundreds or thousands of miles away.
The bottom line is that companies might not follow these requirements, even though they are legally obligated to do so. Consumers need to realize this and make their own data protection a priority.
Hackers don’t care about data protection laws
Hackers obviously don’t care about data privacy laws. Companies are legally compelled to disclose details of a security breach, but it will be too late to do anything at that point. You need to always consider the possibility that hackers will steal data from legitimate companies that you do business with. The GDPR can’t do anything to prevent that.
The good news is that many companies are enhancing their security to make this less of a concern. They use VPS hosting and a dedicated seedbox in Netherlands, which reduces the risk that a hacker could conduct a DDoS attack and can provide better encryption.
The GDPR is not foolproof
The GPR has provided some valuable safeguards for people that are concerned about their online privacy. However, its effectiveness is still up for debate. Consumers should still invest in reliable data protection solutions, such as VPNs.