Almost all recent headlines condemning Cambridge Analytica and Facebook for illegally harvesting millions of people’s data failed to highlight one crucial point – after May 25 life will take a huge turn for the worst for organisations found guilty of illegal data farming.

 

GPDR to become law

From May 25, the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) will become law across the EU and the wider European Economic Area (EEA). This enormous piece of legislation will affect almost all organisations that hold or process data and will significantly change the way companies and consumers view personal data.

 

Protection of peoples data

Underpinning the GDPR is the protection of people’s data from malware attacks on organisations such as Talk Talk and negligence on the part of the organisation to safeguard people’s personal information. And along with data breaches, the new legislation also intends to tidy up the colossal range of intrusive marketing that pervades most people’s lives.

Mike Raybone, CEO of Birmingham-based AIM Internet, has already started to ensure his own company and his clients comply with the new regulations ahead of May 25.

“GDPR has become a huge talking point among marketers in the past few months as many agencies attempt to grapple with the new data law – for themselves and their clients,” Mike said.  

“Many of the fines handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the current Data Protection Act have involved poor data management by marketing companies or marketing departments of large companies.

“GDPR will force marketing professionals to be more accountable about how they handle data. To date, there have been a number of ideas of whether people should opt in or out of certain interactions or privacy settings. The rule is now explicit. It’s privacy by default and by design.”

 

New era of trust

Nevertheless, while GDPR will mean huge changes for ad agencies and companies, Mike believes it will improve marketing and help instil a new era of trust.  

“There will now be an increased focus on existing customers,” Mike said.  “For example, which customers are more likely to give you permission to market to them: someone who has been spammed endlessly by a host of companies or someone is knows your brand and respects it?”

 

Plan and justify the data they want to collect

Mike added that under GDPR, marketers will have to plan and justify the data they want to collect. They need to understand how they will process that data and store it, so it can be  accessed at any moment by the data subject.

“For many marketeers, GDPR will be a huge shift in data ownership and, above all, consent. It will require a fundamental change of mindset in how marketing professionals think about data as an asset – regarding an individual and the organisation collecting it.”

 

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