The GDPR: Why is it so important?
If you’ve been active on social media or have checked your email in the last few weeks, you’ve likely noticed an onslaught of messages and updates telling you that online platform providers have recently “updated their privacy policies”. From Facebook to Steam, and every platform in between, you can thank the EU’s passing of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for corporations changing the way they collect, share, and utilize your personal data.
Here at Sqirl, we believe in the importance of keeping consumer data secure and ensuring its ethical use. The GDPR is fundamentally changing the way companies handle privacy and data, and we want to make sure that consumers know what that means for them.
The new legislation comes as an update to it 1995 predecessor, the Data Protection Directive, with much needed changes to protect users from the digital challenges of the 21st century. It took effect in the EU on May 25th, 2018, but its geographic scope extends into companies that operate around the world, and it provides protection to users both within and outside the borders of the European Union.
So, what exactly does the GDPR do? First and foremost, it recognizes that privacy of personal information and the right to have one’s data be protected and secure are both universal human rights. According to its clauses, businesses that collect data from consumers must have a legitimate basis for doing so and obtain consent that is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”. It further asserts the companies have a responsibility to protect user data and collect it ethically and only based on necessity. Any companies that fail to comply with these regulations would face steep penalties, up to 20 million euros or 4% of their GDP turnover.
Navigating the dense jargon of privacy and data protection policy can be difficult for the average platform user. Before the legislation of the GDPR, the individual user lacked any codified or substantial degree of autonomy in determining how their personal data was collected and used, and by whom. To some extent, users were the equivalent of information-rich moneybags whose data was being collected and sold off to third-party advertisers. The GDPR puts more power in the hands of the individual user and establishes their rights as primary shareholders in the information industry. This directive has truly changed the way in which commercial entities collect and use the data of their users.
The autonomy of individual users is one of our biggest objectives with the Financial Passport (FINPASS). By giving users the ability to consolidate all of their financial data in one place, we take the uncertainty out of the credit application process. FINPASS users can gain control over their own data and take their financial identity into their own hands. Instead of relying on financial institutions to perform the slow process of evaluating credit worthiness, we give our users the power to reclaim their financial data and give them more autonomy.
We’re taking individual data rights one step further. For too long, the information industry has been operating on one sided transactions, in which online companies reap immense profits from user data, while users aren’t getting their fair share for their invaluable contribution. After all, the data industry couldn’t exist without the primary resource of consumer data. Sqirl believes that both consumers and businesses should be able to profit from the exchange of information from consumer to corporation. That’s why we’re revolutionizing the way consumer data is collected and valued, by giving our users the ability to monetize the information they provide for the FINPASS.
In an age where information is perhaps the world’s most valuable commodity, the GDPR is changing industry standards for the better to protect consumers and keep businesses accountable. At Sqirl, we’re committed to protecting user information and making sure our users’ data will be working for them. We look forward to seeing how the GDPR will influence the future of the industries like information technology, finance and retail.
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