It was not long ago when it became clear that the data users shared on social networking websites (like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram) was commercially used. There was a lot of hue and cry over data profiteering practices and the legal loopholes that allowed entrepreneurs to mint millions in months.
Europe had taken the matter into consideration and passed a Data Protection Reform back in 2012. The reform focused strictly upon securing the data of users. The reform recently passed, and will be implemented in next two years.
Salient Features of the Data Protection Reform:
The reform is compromised of several rules and regulations that will impact data security and privacy over the internet. While the reform is mostly coated in sugar, there are a few parts that merit attention. Critics are already calling it the world’s most diabetic data protection decree – mainly because of the smoothness with which the EU government has taken unwarranted surveillance to an all new level.
Unique Reporting Authority
It will be a headache to report to different regulatory authorities for a company which is operating continuously and exchanging data of different users. Following the instructions from different authorities and notifying them all becomes very pressurizing.
The reform has ordered companies to report only to a single National Supervisory Authority. This will take off the burden from the companies and free them from spending their money on notifying the authorities.
According to Facebook’s statement: –
“Having a single set of rules to protect Europeans’ personal data while creating opportunities for growth and innovation is important for people in Europe and the European economy. Although we are still reviewing the legislation in detail, we welcome consistent regulations that enable all companies to comply with the same standards across Europe, under the guidance of one lead supervisory authority. The implementation of the regulations will take place over the next two years, and we look forward to being part of this discussion.”
According to the official trumpet, the rule will lessen the pressure on the firms and provide security to their data as fewer authorities will be having their data the less will be the chances of data to get leaked.
Uniformity in Rules for Data Intensive Organizations
To maintain the sovereignty of the rules and regulation the rules and regulations are not only limited to the companies operating inside Europe.
All the companies who want to do business with European companies have to follow the rules mentioned in the reform. Else they will be liable to penalty.
Acceptance and Declaration of Weaknesses
Gone are the days when companies used to publicize and impress the consumers with the jaw dropping features of their products and mask their weaknesses. The reform has ordered all the smart minded firms (along others) to declare their data breaches which were concealed in the past.
As there will be no relaxation to conceal the data breaches of the firm, this step will ensure the protection of the data which is being exchanged over the internet.
Rights for All
According to the reform each and every user on the internet will have complete right to get their data completely deleted and removed from the internet as well as website’s server also.
A long run (and mostly covert) practice which is carried out by majority of social networking sites is to earn by selling customers data. But according to the reform companies have to put a stop on their profits when it comes to selling the users data and personal information to third parties.
Not only will this lead in less annoying marketing calls being received by the customers. But this step will also contribute in stopping the information to get hacked and leaked as there will be no data left in the company’s database.
The Huge Penalty
The companies who don’t comply and abide by the rules and regulations mentioned in the reform can be penalized with up to 4% of its global turn over. For instance a company like Apple whose revenue stands $234 billion as of Financial Year 2015 will be subjected to pay huge amount of $10 billion if fined.
The company has to comply with the outlined laws and provide assurance to its customers otherwise the company needs to get prepared to pay the 4% of its global turn over as a fine.
The relaxation in the age of internet user will be raised off. According to the reform the digital “age of consent” of the internet user has been raised up to 16 years.
Teenagers under 15 will be needing consent from their parents or guardians to sign up for the applications and different websites including the social networking platforms.
This rule will strike the big social networking websites like snap chat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and many others whose majority of users are compromised of teen agers.
But in return there will be opportunities for the young ones to develop themselves and spend their time in something more beneficial rather than spending the time on useless videos and posts from friends.
Mandating Data Protection Officers
Companies can no longer take the security of their users’ data as for granted. The reform requires companies to induct Data Protection Officers to ensure maximum data security.
The reform also leaves breathing room for small and medium enterprises. SMEs that are not engaged in data intensive operations are given exemption from this rule.
All the rules and regulations made are for the sake of internet security of the users of Europe. Not only will they help assure maximum security to the internet users but will also contribute in protecting the details and personal information of the users.
Companies which lacked in securing the data of their users now have to improve their data protection system, they cannot hide their weaknesses anymore. Users have the liberty to be completely forgotten from the internet by having authority to erase their information from the websites after deleting their account.