All You Need to Know about GDPR

Just last week, the General Data Protection Regulation aka GDPR came into effect. The regulation is bound to test the core of online companies serving the European market.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a new set of rules and regulations intended to provide EU citizens or people living in the EU more authority over how their personal data is used and stored.

GDPR aims to streamline the monitoring environment for businesses and citizens in the European Union so that all parties can benefit from what the digital economy has to offer.

Essentially, the modifications are intended to mirror our real world and make necessary improvements to secure the online data of millions of users. With GDPR in place, you’ll witness a new set of laws and commitments in place.

Businesses are required to secure their users’ personal data, clearly highlight their privacy standing and require consent from users to share their data with third parties.

If you look deeper, you’ll see how our lives spin around data. It is the exact thing with the most significant value and is traded for hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Social media companies (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn), to banks, online stores and businesses, and governments – nearly every single service we use involves the collection and analysis of our personal data.

Valuable data such as your name, home and work address, banking details like your credit card number and more all gathered, evaluated and, maintained by numerous organizations.

As a result, your valuable information is at stake. However, with GDPR in place, things will take a turn, hopefully for the good of everyone.

What does it mean to be GDPR compliant?

With ever increasing data breaches and ransomware attacks, your valuable information is bound to get in the hands of evil-minded people.

Under the GDPR terms, organizations will have to make sure that users’ personal data is collected legally with the users’ consent. Organizations will also have to ensure the security of users’ data by keeping it safe from hackers, cybercriminals and data breaches. Failure to comply will result in huge penalties.

Does GDPR apply to every online business?

Yes, GDPR applies to any business that operates within the European Union, along with companies based outside of the European Union which offer goods or services to customers or companies based in the European Union.

If you look at it, virtually all businesses these days are interlinked which eventually translates to almost all major companies needing to comply with GDPR. As a result, companies have already started working on their GDPR compliance policy.

How does GDPR define personal data?

Presently, personal data is defined as your name, address, and photos. With GDPR, personal data means your IP address, biometric data, email address and passwords.

How does GDPR affect businesses?

GDPR treats all businesses equally. The regulation applies to all organizations doing business in the European Union, which means that the regulation outspreads further than the borders of Europe itself.

All businesses based outside the European Union having businesses activities in Europe will have to comply with the new set of rules and regulations.

Now, businesses will have to guarantee data protection of their users. The primary purpose of GDPR is to enforce companies into creating such products and services from the earliest stage of development that provides ‘data protection by design’ in its products and technologies.

How does GDPR affect online users/citizens?

A growing number of data breaches and hacks have rocked the world over the recent years and unfortunately, millions of users have been affected by this ever increasing threat. Victims of these hacks have had at least some of their data – be it an email address, password, social security number, or personal health records – exposed on the internet.


With GDPR in place:

  • Consumers have the right to know when and where their data has been hacked.
  • All businesses will be required to notify their users about the breach.
  • Consumers will be given access to their own personal data as to how it is processed.

While some organizations have been swift in their efforts to comply with GDPR, there are some who are still working on it.

How does GDPR enforce a breach announcement?

GDPR aims to give more power to the users and safeguard their confidential information. GDPR enforces all organizations to report certain types of data breaches, which involve unauthorized access to or loss of personal data to the relevant supervisory authority.

If necessary, organizations must also inform those individuals affected by the breach.

Organizations will be obliged to report any breaches which are likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals and lead to discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality, or any other economic or social disadvantage.

Simply put, if the name, address, date of birth, health records, bank details, or any private or personal data about customers is breached, it’s the organization’s duty to inform those affected by the breach along with a governing body to minimize any damage.

What if a business fails to comply with GDPR guidelines?

Failure to comply with GDPR can result in a fine of 20 million euros to four percent of the company’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher. This could amount to billions of dollars.

While these fines will depend on the severity of the breach, companies must take necessary steps to prevent such hacks from taking place in the future.


In short, expect dozens of companies requesting you for all sorts of consent in the coming days. Not to forget that it’s your sole responsibility to safeguard your online privacy. If you keep sharing your private details with websites on the web, you might see yourself become a victim of data breaches taking place in the future.

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Ather Owais Ather Owais is a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and security, following technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.

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