Have you ever gone into a shoe store and interacted with a salesman who was creepy and far too interested in your feet? So you don’t go back to a store at all – in fact, you go to the Internet. It offers great deals and delivers to your door if you use one of those nice stores.

That is the problem for many consumers. The idea that you could order online and have the goods delivered to your door is now a reality.

But those pizzas and devilries come with a price that is not outlined on the bill. Your order and the detail of where that pizza is going to have been captured. That data, along with your credit and debit card details, have been saved so that the next time you order, that system knows your preferences – and where you live.

For many people, this is not OK. Data gathering about our day-to-day activities by large organizations is not just something that we should tolerate.

And in the European Union, they have said it is enough.

The GDPR is an effort to put the power back into the hands of the consumer. It requires that companies take ownership of the data that they have gathered from consumers. It also requires that they are completely transparent in the way that they handle that data.

These regulations are nothing new. But the way they are enforced is a sea change for both consumers and the company’s that handle data.

Those companies- including social media and retail organizations- will have to take a good look at how they handle the data we are supplying them. And this is at the core of our right to privacy.

Do we provide those companies with the permission to use the data that we unknowingly provide? The answer is no. We do not read our user agreements. So we allow those companies to sell our data to others.

The GDPR is an effort to stop that. It puts in place mechanisms that force organizations to protect and guard our data. But as importantly, it also makes the company ask for permission before they use that data.

It places the power back in the hands of the consumer. And it is not only in the European Union that this regulation will force companies to comply. It has global ramifications.

Any company that does business with another that has even the slightest connection with the EU – and handles data that comes from any EU member state will be subject to the regulations as outlined in the GDPR.

It has got a lot of companies very worried and has cost a lot of them millions. However, the conversation around new regulation has been going on since 2012. For those companies that are now not prepared for the new regulations that are affecting the entire world, it is not too late – but to comply is going to be pricey

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