By Siti Rohani
Don’t be too quick to delete them, and certainly don’t ignore them.
Want to know what’s going on?
We answer your frequently asked questions.
Why am I getting emails about updated privacy settings?
These emails are in response to the European Union’s new law on data privacy that kicked in on May 25.
I keep seeing the letters GDPR – what does it mean?
It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is the official name.
But I don’t live anywhere near Europe. Why am I involved?
In a word – globalisation.
Even if the company providing the service you use is not based in the EU, it does have users there so it, too, has to comply with the new regulations.
Facebook and Google are perfect examples – they’re based in Silicon Valley but have millions of European users.
As for companies that are based in the EU, they have to offer privacy protection to all their users, not just the ones who live there.
What do I need to know about the new regulations?
The law states that companies have to eliminate legalese and use easy-to-understand language to explain how they collect and use data.
Companies also have to inform users of any data breaches within 72 hours.
EU residents will have clear information on who is collecting their data and why, access to the stored data, and also the right to correct or erase the data.
If you’re interested in reading all 261 pages (!) detailing the GDPR, check out the official guide here.
What’s with the urgency? I’m getting so many emails a day!
Companies that don’t comply with the new regulations will be fined 4 per cent of their global revenue or 20 million euros (US$23.25 million), whichever is higher, which puts this quite high up on their priority list.
Can I just delete the emails?
You could, but you should really have a read to make sure that you consent to the way your data is being used.
With the recent high-profile data breaches at Facebook, it’s more important than ever that you understand what personal information is being collected and what companies are doing with it.
On the upside, these emails are also a great reminder of the many services you’ve signed up for that you haven’t used in years! It’s time to do some digital spring cleaning and unsubscribe from those.