There’s a reason why your inbox is full of emails about updated privacy policies.
Europe’s new data protection laws, called GDPR, comes into effect on 25 May.
The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, aims to protect European user data via new rules and policies on the collection, storage, and use of personal data. It also outlines the rights of individuals to protect, access, and modify their own data, including a newer clause called “Right to be Forgotten”.
The fines for non-compliance are stiff: from the 25 May, the penalty for breaches can reach up to 20 million euro or 4% of a company’s annual global turnover.
So, the 20 million euro question is…
Businesses that offer goods or services to customers in the European Union (EU) need to be GDPR-compliant—for European user data—regardless of where the business is based.
According to the Australian Government, “Australian businesses with an establishment in the EU, or that offer goods and services in the EU, or that monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU may need to comply.”
Even more specifically…
“Australian businesses that may be covered include:
If you’re unsure of your eligibility and obligations under GDPR, we recommend getting legal advice.
In case you don’t want to wade into the 150-page, 54,328-word document here’s a quick summary of key elements that impact marketers.
When I recently spoke to the CEO of an international marketing platform, they admitted there’s still a ton of uncertainty about what this means for Australian marketers.
Because the new requirements apply to all data previously collected, it means companies will need to re-opt in all EU users if their data was captured in a non-GDPR way. Ouch. That could completely change the way companies use their current email marketing list.
Here are a few predictions for what GDPR means:
I believe we’ll see the European Commission going after the largest companies with the most egregious privacy violations. In the context of Cambridge Analytica, this is a good thing.
We’ll likely see global companies rethinking what data they need to capture. Perhaps we’ll say goodbye to the wild west days when brands and analytics platforms captured every single data point possible, with the hopes of crunching it into something useful later.
We’ll likely see better practices in user privacy, email opt-in, and data-management across countries and industries. Just as the 2003 American CAN-SPAM Act has become “best practice” over time (for example, including the sender’s address in marketing emails), we’ll ultimately build better practices around marketing consent and opt-ins.
The “right to be forgotten” means that marketing platforms will add in the option for companies to more easily process the removal of individual’s data from 3rd party platforms, which is a good thing.
Overall, I think the biggest change will be for email list growth and lead generation. Marketers working in the GDPR context will face a larger hurdle in building email and customer databases and will be forced to introduce clearer hurdles to opt-in processes. This is ultimately good for customers and their inboxes, but bad for companies that depended on growing their email list for sales.
As this is the largest privacy changes in the online era, it remains to be seen how this changes marketing outside of the EU.
If you’re terrified of the changes coming into effect on May 25, one option is to simply block all traffic coming from the EU.
Sort of joking… sort of not.
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