Merry GDPR everyone

The GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation from the European Union) came into force on 25th of May (here is a funny top 10 of the worst ways to apply the GDPR).

Now that the spam-madness of GDPR mails has luckily passed its peak, I would like to break a lance in its favour.

Let’s start with the name: Data Protection is not fully representative, its goal is more than that.
In a nutshell it gives each European citizen the rights:

  • to know which kind of personal and sensitive data are collected about them
  • to know why and which use will be done with those data
  • to refuse the collection and processing of those data (deny consent)
  • to access the data (see them, edit if needed, obtain and port them somewhere else)
  • to be forgotten (data erase, collection and processing stopped)
  • to be promptly informed if a security breach happened and involved their data

Now, imagine a not far future – algorithmic pricing is already an established methodology – when you enter a shop (online or offline) to buy a new mobile phone but they have no price tag.
The price will be real-time calculated based on your data: your preferences, the intended use, what disappointed you in the past, what is most important in your daily activities, your favourite colours.
All these variables will be used to find out the best phone for you and this phone will have the maximum price that you are willing to pay. The next person could pay it less or more.

Like or not, this is going to happen, as data and algorithms spread into our lives.

Now, the GDPR is a tentative to proactively manage this new market, to give everyone more tools to improve their knowledge about the value of the personal data and selectively share them.

In this sense, the concept of data privacy means the security that your personal data will not be abused, i.e. they are used only to give you what you wanted, without collateral damages.

The hope is that the regulation will provide a safe framework and allow opportunities.

For example, if I am not happy how my social network handles my data, I could move them to another one. Possibly a new social network that sees a different data management as a way to differentiate and create a new market.

There could be also new business opportunities: a school could decide to collect data from the way the students learn to provide a better tailored curriculum and another one could use facial recognition to detect if the students attention is vanishing.
And a third school could just refuse to collect any data.

This multiplication of choices could happen for every transaction.

And if most of the people do not want to be bothered, do not want to check their own data and take these kind of decisions?
This could be yet another business opportunity: a future smart platform could manage for you your data, share them when beneficial and deny them when unneeded.

The point is that knowledge and a regulated framework could offer more choices and this could benefit in the long term the citizens, even if right now everyone is irritated by the GDPR mails.

Let’s hope that all this will turn out to help us, and will not end like the cookie law.

Meanwhile, I need to check exactly which kind of data is collecting my smart TV …


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