For anyone unfamiliar with the art of privacy law online, you’ll be pleased to know changes are afoot. One major change that took place this year was the May 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This change, to some, only concerns citizens of the European Union (EU) but that is not the case. If your business does any kind of business within the EU or with EU citizens, then it is expected to meet GDPR laws.

For consumers, though, the new GDPR ruling might sound quite confusing. What does it actually mean? What will consumers need to know about it? Read below to find out.

What is GDPR, exactly?

As mentioned above, GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a new form of data protection law that has come into force across the EU, and is all about protecting data. Unless you are entirely news-free, you will have seen the data scandals engulfing some of the major companies in the world.

These data breaches and lack of ethical use of private data gave birth to GDPR. In effect, it puts companies far more at risk of mishandling or misusing data, which can lead to some pretty significant issues along the way. If you are looking to keep your data safe and you want companies to be far more transparent with data usage, then GDPR can only be seen as a positive.

With that in mind, you can easily use GDPR’ new features to help make sure your data is better looked after. The new regulations mean that companies must comply with far more customer-friendly data protection laws. For one, companies will now need to deliver clear reports of ANY data breach that takes place to their systems. They also need to disclose what all data will be used, and who it will be used in conjunction with, when you sign up.

In the past, all manner of gruesome uses for your data could be put into a pages-long Privacy Policy. Today, GDPR means this has to be much clearer to you. it also has to be made to ensure that data is better protected, and that your data is not used for anything that you do not wish for it to be used with.

With that in mind, then, what does GDPR actually mean for a consumer? Why should you care?

What GDPR means in relation to consumers

Since GDPR came into effect on the 25th May, 2018, just about any business that houses data will be impacted by it. it’s important to know that ‘personal data’ is a broad term that can be used for anything from your actual name and contact information to your IP address. Basically, persona data is now going to be anything that could be traced back to you, the consumer.

If you want to make sure that your data is not used for marketing purposes, you now have the opportunity to say so. Previously, consumers were asked to just Agree or Decline to a series of privacy and data usage agreements. Now, you need to be given the choice of what kind of agreements you are happy to enter into: GDPR has made it much harder for companies to use your personal data without express permission.

As such, consumers will need to be ready to get in contact with businesses that they use regularly to discuss their use of your personal data. Companies will need to undergo a root and branch review of how they manage their data, how they store data and how they record the consent given/refused by each user. This is going to be important for consumers to note, as you now have power back in your hands over how your data is being used.

If you want to start making sure that you are more protected from the open-air world of privacy in business, it’s time to appreciate what GDPR means for the consumer. You should look to check up with all sites that you use regularly, checking out their new GDPR policies. When one is not in place, consumers should look to find out why – and when implementation will be taking place.

Don’t let your data be used as a bargaining chip any longer: with GDPR, you now have the right to say no.