Although in the works for more than five years, the GDPR deadline came and went on May 25 and saw companies big and small scrambling for compliance with the sweeping new regulations. But, as outlets like The Verge point out, very few companies are in full-compliance after the deadline. While the race to meet the new regulations continues, the overarching hope for GDPR is a fundamental change in the relationship between data, consumer, and company. And this change will be a good thing, even if it’s a painful transition.
The Benefits of GDPR
GDPR will put consumers in charge of their data in a way that was previously unheard of. Companies using consumer data will be required to ask for consent of use of this data, tell consumers what it’ll be used for, as well as what they can do to have this data deleted at a later date; that is, if the consumer consents to use in the first place. While this may sound like a huge power shift in the consumer data market (and it is), this might be the best thing for the data industry in a long time.
First, this transparency will encourage, if not mandate, more ethical and responsible use of consumer data. Companies that adhere to GDPR policies will gain the trust of consumers and differentiate themselves from companies that will, inevitably, be caught out and punished by GDPR regulators.
Second, this transparency will encourage consumers to provide more accurate data. Knowing which companies have access to their data and, more importantly, what those companies are doing with it, will likely put consumers more at ease about their personal data’s use. This could likely mean higher qualities of data in terms of accuracy, timeliness, and other factors.
While far from eliminating the need to take steps to ensure data quality, companies are at least going to be starting off a few steps ahead in the data quality department due to empowered, opted-in consumers.
A Penalties of GDPR
To be sure, the volume of data currently available to companies in the consumer data space is vast. With the ability of consumers to opt-out of sharing data, the days of oceans of consumer data of every description is likely over. For data brokers, this could be a difficult transition. However, the trade for less, but higher quality data will be better for companies in the long term. One aspect of GDPR that is meant to, shall we say, inspire compliance is the power given to regulators to penalize companies who fall out of line of regulations up to 4% of their global revenue. As the article in The Verge points out, such a fine would cost a company the size of Amazon a cool $7 billion.
If we could summarize the GDPR, it’s a revolution in consumer data rights that will increase awareness in the ethical use of data practices, improve data quality in the long term, and cost companies who are unwilling or unable to follow these regulations millions, tens of millions, or even billions of dollars, depending on the size of the company.
Naveego is a data quality company based in Traverse City, MI, with a diverse range of partners spread out across the world. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for company news and industry updates.