What is GDPR?
If you’ve noticed an influx of emails, website and app notifications about privacy notices, you’re already seeing a small effect of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.
In a nutshell, the EU’s GDPR laws are concerned with how companies collect, store, process, use, and safeguard data they have about individuals. The law is designed to protect the privacy of all EU citizens and give them more control over how companies use and store their data and use their personal information to communicate with them. The UK is set to adopt and retain these laws for the future, so regardless of leaving the EU, GDPR will still be a legal requirement and protection for UK citizens.
The key takeaway is that this is about safeguarding the individual’s data, so it doesn’t matter where a company is based or who it targets in its marketing; if any EU citizen’s data is collected, stored or processed, it needs to be in line with GDPR regulations. As a result, almost all websites and companies worldwide are affected by GDPR in one way or another as they have very little control over who visits their website or subscribes to their mailing list.
GDPR has thrown businesses across the globe into a frenzy as they race to understand the law and take the actions they need to take in order to be compliant. As well as analysing the extensive and ambiguous regulation information, all websites and communication methods need to be reviewed and modified accordingly to meet GDPR compliancy standards.
With everything from emails to cookies under scrutiny, there‘s no room for error. Companies of all sizes, from sole traders to large corporations, are subject to extensive fines if they do not meet the data storing, handling and processing requirements of GDPR.
What does GDPR mean for VPN users?
GDPR is an important step in the right direction for personal privacy, so you may think there’s less need for VPN services. In fact, they are more important than ever before for two key reasons:
1. You can avoid blanket EU and UK IP blocking
Under GDPR, IP addresses are classed as personally identifying data. Therefore many small non-EU websites and businesses, particularly those in the USA, are debating whether or not to just block EU IP addresses from accessing their websites altogether. They are seeing it as better than spending the time and money trying to comply with GDPR. The worst case scenario for businesses is that they run the risk of being charged millions of Euros in penalties, so their concern is understandable.
If you’re looking to continue to visit international websites that have decided to block European Union IP addresses (along with those of third countries like the UK who are still adopting GDPR laws in their entirety), a VPN is a lifesaver. You can enjoy the same access to all the same websites regardless of your actual location, IP address, and citizenship.
2. Keep your personal data protected no matter what
If you’re concerned that many websites won’t take the extensive actions needed to comply with GDPR, particularly those based outside the EU, then you can take matters into your own hands and make sure you’re protected with a VPN.
In addition to avoiding the risk that many websites won’t be fully compliant or may not even attempt to comply, you’re also minimising the amount and types of data that third parties can collect about you and your browsing interests.
As many elements of GDPR are related to transparency and awareness rather than banning data collection outright, third party tracking, cookies and retargeting will still be permitted. Therefore, in order to avoid being tracked all over the web and to prevent websites collecting information about you, you will still want the protection a VPN provides. This will ensure that all websites are unable to track you beyond your single current session on a single website, and companies certainly will not be able to build up a long-term and intrusive picture of your interests, traits, and personal data as you browse the web.
While many people see GDPR as a welcome advancement for protecting individuals’ rights to privacy, others are concerned that it doesn’t go far enough in blocking data collection and storage.
To make sure you have the maximum possible privacy when browsing the web, regardless of whether a specific website does or doesn’t comply with GDPR, a VPN is vital. It costs just a few pounds per month to protect yourself, so take a look at our top VPN deals and reclaim your privacy today.
Main Image: Descrier