GDPR: What it means to you, personally.

Arm holding a cell phone

Given this is the first full calendar year of GDPR, we will be publishing two blogs on how the regulation applies to you personally, and how businesses are being impacted by the regulation.

With October being is recognized as the Cyber Security Awareness month worldwide, it puts security firmly on the agenda as we head into new year.

Ok, GDPR is not a new subject, as it went live on the 25th of May 2018, but many people in Europe (31% to be more precise, according to the European Commission report) still don’t know exactly what it means, while 32% never even heard about it. We definitely need to talk about it, right?

Are companies following the rules? Is the number of data breaches lower? How does GDPR impacts everyone’s life? In our two blogs we will help breakdown what GDPR is and highlight some areas where GDPR is changing how your data is handled.

GDPR, what do these four letters mean?

Our objective here is not to tell you that GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, but to explain what it means to you. Prior to 25th of May 2018, each EU member state had considerable variations regarding the way companies handled personal data, and now with GDPR there is a unified regulation that applies across the EU, with significantly less variation. Its important to note that GDPR applies to anywhere EU citizen data is processed – it is really is a borderless regulation (Brazil is following a similar path with LGPD) . 

So why should GDPR matter to you? Simply put; if you’re an EU citizen you are now in control of any data that relates to you as the regulation makes sure companies are very transparent on how personal information is used.

For example, before GDPR cookie banners could have implied consent to use personal data in targeted advertising, under GDPR companies need to provide a clear specification of how your details will be used and, more than that, give you the option to allow your data be used or not.

Under GDPR – you, the individual, have the following rights:

You can find out more on each of these rights by following this link.

And what happened during the first year of GDPR?

Even though companies are making an effort to comply with this regulation, it is not a perfect world yet. From the 25th of May 2018 to the same date in 2019, almost 145,000 queries and complaints were opened regarding data protection. Also, 89,271 data breaches were notified to the relevant data protection authorities (keep in mind that under GDPR companies are obliged to report breaches within 72 hours of finding out about it).

One of the examples, a German social platform, was fined €20k for storing user’s passwords in plain text, violating its duty to ensure data security in the processing of personal data.

What can you do to keep your data safe?

Firstly, use the power that GDPR gives you! More than ever, you can now decide if, how, and where your personal data is used. Also, you have the right to be forgotten if you decide to, which means you can be completely deleted from a data bank if you wish.

Secondly, be aware that you are responsible for making your online information secure. If you are reusing credentials for convenience, you are putting your personal data at risk. Equally, if you use poor password to secure your accounts, you make a cyber criminals’ life way easier too!

We get that having loads of different passwords doesn’t make things easier for you, and that’s why password management tools exist.

Password Mangers remove the need to remember passwords. Other benefits include:

  • A secure vault for you to store not only passwords but sensitive information such as bank details, passport details, and that Wi-Fi password that causes you so much trouble when you forget it!
  • Auto fill of username and passwords to sites that are saved in your vault,
  • It can also generate passwords for you with up to 128 characters, so you avoid using the same password in several accounts

Click here to get a free LastPass personal account – it will go a long way to keeping you safe and secure online.