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Power to Privacy: EU data regulation updates privacy control of users around the world

in Business & Technology/Government & Policy by

New privacy rules give users of apps and online services more agency to control how their data can be used, or if it can be used at all.

Lately, privacy updates have been popping up on apps, in online services and flooding your emails. From Facebook to Linkedin to Netflix, messages on new privacy laws are generating throughout the Internet.

The reason for this surge of protections is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), a mandate that took effect May 25 in Europe. The GDPR allows the European Union to hold businesses and organizations accountable on how they mine, monitor and manage data.

Brussels, Belgium. 25 May 2018. European Commissioner Vera JOUROVA participates in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Event.

Although, the regulation applies to the EU, the world benefits because European citizens interact with those outside of GDPR’s jurisdiction. With the close proximity of EU and non-EU users, it makes it highly likely for companies to violate GDPR policy. This has been the case for lawsuits against Facebook in Illinois. To avoid violations, many companies are availing new privacy options to everyone.

In a column written by Mozilla Fellow, Aleksandar Todorovic, he explained the sweeping measure:

The basic idea is to make a web portal that will allow citizens to send requests to internet companies relating to their personal data. You can request to see what data companies have about you. You can request to modify that data if it’s incorrect, or you can delete that data, or you can export it.

For years, Mozilla, a free software community that provides an Internet browser for online users, has advocated for better privacy laws. In 2013, Mozilla launched a campaign called #StopWatchingUs.

The company’s position is “a healthy internet is secure and private” and have educated the public with blogs and articles on government surveillance, data collection and privacy.

Facebook Fail

Two weeks ago, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of members of the European Parliament in Brussels. Like the U.S. Congressional questioning of Zuckerberg in April, Europe’s elected officials wanted to understand the impact of Facebook’s data collection practices and sharing of 87 million users.

However, unlike the U.S. Congress, Zuckerberg agreed to speak with less time and pre-arranged questions. A story by the Guardian reported that he avoided questions. Parliamentarians expressed disappointment with Zuckerberg.

Facebook has already been sued by Belgium twice for privacy violations, and is being sued by the State of Illinois for data mining using biometrics, both cases in which data collection occurred without users’ permission.

Now, with the GDPR in place, mandates force companies to provide more transparency on how they collect data and their intentions in using the information. As well, users have the right to access data collected about them. Through the new regulation, those who are data subjects (app and Internet users) can request all data be erased, along with other controls of information.

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