GDPRexplained: a social campaign launched today reminds the new regulation is there to protect our rights

2 min. read

Hundreds of e-mails informing about changes to companies’ privacy policies were sent out by companies across the EU in the name of the GDPR. Both users and companies are confused with the variety of – sometimes contradictory – explanations and interpretations. The #TimeToDisagree campaign launched today by Panoptykon together with European Digital Rights and Bits of Freedom reminds everyone that the GDPR is – above all – a new tool to protect our rights.

9 days later Facebook decided to move data of 1.5 billion users beyond GDPR protected territory. [Source: The Guardian, April 19th, 2018] #TimeToDisagree

The new data protection regulations reminds that what we are protecting is not a meaningless set of digits but a living person. This person falls victim to whatever we do wrong about his or her data. For instance, if an insurance company increases a fee, a bank rejects an application for a loan based on unclear criteria or an ISP manipulates their political and consumer decisions by streaming a “tailored” newsfeed on their wall, without explaining the logic behind the choice, consumers are negatively affected.

The point of the new regulation – to regain control over who knows what about us and what he or she does with this information – is buried under the discussion about how companies are not meeting up to their requirements and seeking simple yes or no answers to particular dilemmas, while what really matters is the people and their rights.

Have you ever received a call from an unknown company and the person on the other side of the wire called you by your first name? The GDPR will make it easier to find out from where the company has obtained your data and ask them to erase it. It will challenge the common problem of bullying users to get their consent for data processing. The fuss around the GDPR alone makes so many people think: perhaps I don’t have to agree for all of this? A strong data protection authority and a perspective of real financial sanctions should discourage everyone from taking unnecessary risk of violating the rights of their customers.

#TimeToDisagree campaign was prepared together with the European Digital Rights, Bits of Freedom, in cooperation with Privacy International, Digital Rights Ireland, Xnet and Open Rights Group.

When our privacy is at stake, we want an immediate reaction. We don't want it to be disregarded. #TimeTo#Disagree