Why have I been getting all these emails about privacy from companies I haven’t used in 5 years? And how could they affect my kids?

My friend, a car salesman, got in touch with me yesterday to ask whether his business fell under the new GDPR legislation. Could they still call customers and offer new cars or a better deal? Is this cold calling? This ignited me into looking at this GDPR thing and it highlighted how much of an effect this could have on every single one of us; most surprisingly, teenagers! And I still don’t know whether it’s cold calling…

What is GDPR?

We’ve all had hundreds of emails from companies we have never used in years asking us to give permission to continue to stay in touch. This, in essence, is what GDPR is. The General Data Protection Regulation (yes, that’s what is stands for) is a new EU law which aims to give us control over our own data. All the favourites – Google, Facebook and Apple are affected as well as every other company which stores data about us normal folks. I won’t go into much more detail here, but if you do want to read more, here’s the Wikipedia page:

Wikipedia – GDPR

What was clear to me after reading all this, was 2 things:

1. This is VERY CONFUSING!
2. Every person, even without knowing, could be affected by these laws.

The new rules say that for some apps and online services, teens under the age of 16 will need parental consent to use them, as they need to sign off on them collecting and using personal data. And whilst this may be a solid idea to improve the online security of our youth, how is it going to be implemented and what are the downfalls?

A number of experts have said that they do not know how to implement this properly and in a way which is full proof.

Medical apps such as Clue, a period-tracking app, may suffer as young girls may not want to approach their parents and ask for permission to use an app for such a personal thing. This is also limiting education and support.

Not all EU countries have the same age of consent for this type of thing, the UK’s for example, is 13. However, because countries like France and Germany have adopted the 16 year old limit. This means that apps have simply upped the age limit.

Basically, this legislation really is confusing and I would encourage everyone to read the thousands of mails you are sent and really understand the implications that has both on you and your children. You may be surprised.

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