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Why the new EU GDPR Regulations are Good News for Both Businesses and Consumers

Whether as a business or a consumer, chances are you’ve had to deal with the past few weeks bombardment of emails and messages all to the tune of “Data law changes” or “Updates to our privacy policy”. These are the new GDPR regulations coming into force and making businesses scramble to maintain their legality.

With fines of €20 million or 4% of annual turnover, whichever is higher, on the table, these new rules are no small thing. Those fines could mean going into admin for a smaller business or hundreds of millions in fines for a multinational.

You might sniff and mutter something about Brexit, but beyond the faff of affirming your membership to a favourite mailing list, or the potential cost of implementing regulation-compliant procedures for your business, this is actually a very positive move for web users of all kinds.

For the Business Owner

Too many shady practices have become incredibly prevalent when it comes to getting consumers to sign up to mailing lists, agreeing to let their data be used or how long it could be used for. There was no expiry date on how long data could be used, affirmation tick boxes would commonly be planted in the middle of huge blocks of dense text, and once your data was out there, that was it. In short, businesses used to be able to do almost exactly as they wanted.

That’s good though, right? Wrong. Through cheap, shady practices, you’re chipping away at customer trust and the overall integrity of your customer base. You’re potentially bombarding people with unwanted digital attention and advertising, unethically.

While it’s going to be harder to connect with customers going forward, the connections you do achieve are going to be more fruitful, more ethical and potentially longer lasting. Trust is a big factor when it comes to succeeding as any kind of business, and the admin costs of guaranteeing your trustworthiness through the new GDPR regulations are very worthwhile.

As a Consumer

If you’re anything like us, you probably check your emails every day and find them filled up with emails from companies and organisations that you dealt with once five years ago. As more and more customers take the cautious approach to those hefty fines, you’ll see less and less of this unwanted pestering. Just make sure you opt in for the mailing lists you actually want to be part of.

For the Internet as a Whole

For the most part, anything that makes the internet a more ethical, above-board place, allowing consumers to feel comfortable and safe, with a minimised risk of their private data being exploited is always going to be a positive shift. Sure, in the short term it might mean additional costs and admin for businesses looking to steer clear of the fines and hassle, but as a moral and ethical shift for the net as a whole, it’s very worthwhile.