Privacy and security have become public issues this year, thanks to Facebook and Google’s shenanigans going public, and the European Union’s desire to care more about humans than technology.
Thank GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation in effect in Europe. Yes, it will create a mess that will need to be cleaned up and refine. Instapaper, for example, has ceased European operations to figure out how to deal with it. Microsoft, on the other hand, has gone all in on GDPR regulations– worldwide.
Despite the uncomfortable mess GDPR will cause technology companies that collect and store personal data, the end result will be fewer tricks from the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and others who have run roughshod over humanity in an effort to cull as much private information as possible from as many people as possible.
John C. Dvorak (yes, that Dvorak):
GDPR is tough and the punishment for non-compliance is draconian. For example, a breach of record-keeping obligations incurs a fine of 10 million euros or 2 percent of global income, whichever is more.
Yes, such draconian punishment will be challenged in courts, but Europe has a large enough populace that technology companies will prefer to go the way of GDPR rather than risk the public embarrassment of coming down on the wrong side of the privacy issue.
Infringing people’s data rights or any sort of unlawful transfers of data out of the EU results in a fine of 20 million euros or 4 percent of global income, whichever is higher
I’m not shedding tears or growing sympathy for offenders who have forgotten about their users in their quest for data collection without consequence. For years Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others have had free access to information they harvest from users. Then, that information is sold or combined with other information from other sources.
It’s as if these large technology companies have a personal dossier on all of us. Under GDPR, citizens in Europe control that personal data more than ever.
Supposedly nobody can do anything with your personal data (including identification number, location data, online identifiers, genetic data, and biometric data) without your explicit consent, and you can withdraw consent at any time.
If Microsoft employs GDPR for all its customers and users all over the world, they get applause from me. Even though GDPR is Europe only, it’s good for you, me, and Apple. Apple? The company can improve upon GDPR and become the worldwide leader in privacy rights and personal security.
But don’t hold your breath. There are plenty of obstacles ahead and some of them are technology based.
It will be interesting to see how your rights can be worked out within the various blockchain schemes that seemingly are impossible to edit or expunge randomly within the chain. It seems like it would be a nightmare.
As Dvorak notes, there are no GDPR police, but there are plenty of savvy technologists who prefer a more private world who can track down and expose offenders.
That’s how it should be.
Apple should make that kind of privacy an easy-to-implement option on iOS and macOS.