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DSGVO: The EU General Data Protection Regulation, explained

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The European Union has adopted a new law on data protection. It is the General Data Protection Regulation, commonly referred to as the GDPR. This Friday comes into force in the EU's 28 member states

The law changes the rules for companies that collect, store or process large amounts of information about EU citizens and need more openness about what data they have and who they share

That means you, Facebook

It also means that any company with a digital presence in the EU (which still includes the UK for the time being) must abide by the law or be rigidly punished.

The deadline for compliance with the law has been set since the adoption by the European Parliament in April 201

6. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced on Facebook in March, privacy advocates found a striking example of why Internet users may want more control over who can access their data.

The DSGVO occurred several times during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's statement to the US Congress in April, and it was a major focus Tuesday, as members of European Parliament polls Zuckerberg in Brussels . EU officials said they were not satisfied with the replies of the Facebook CEO to DSGVO questions and promised to follow the answers in writing.

"I think the DSGVO will generally be a very positive step for the Internet," Zuckerberg told US lawmakers, discussed Facebook's plans streamlines data policy protects users from further leaks and becomes more transparent over who advertising on the site.

Not only the well-known names of the internet like Facebook have to be. Healthcare providers, insurers, banks and other companies that trade sensitive personal information will also be under scrutiny. For this reason, your Inbox will be flooded with updated privacy policies .

The GDPR will have a significant impact on our online footprints and how they protect or exploit the apps and services we use. Here's what you need to know.

Read: EU investigates data misuse of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

What is DSGVO?

The General Data Protection Regulation is a comprehensive law that gives residents of the European Union more control over their personal data and seeks to clarify rules and responsibilities for online services with European users. It replaces the previous EU data protection law of 1995 and dramatically changes the existing conventions.

The regulation broadens the scope of what companies need to take into account personal data and requires them to closely monitor the data they have stored for EU citizens. If someone in the EU wants a company to erase their data, send copies of the data, or correct an error in the data, companies need to adhere to it.


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The law continues. EU citizens can now oppose the specific way companies use their data and say that they do not mind if a company stores the data for as long as it no longer uses the information for a particular purpose.

The law requires companies to notify users within 72 hours of a data breach – which very few companies currently do. During the breaches of Equifax, which revealed the personal information of millions of people in the US and beyond, the company stopped the attack for weeks and then planned how to handle the damage before informing the public.

How will the EU enforce the GDPR?

Each EU member state will have its own enforcement mechanism with one GDPR per country.

Residents can complain to the competent body in their respective country. Companies that violate the law must pay fines that can be very high. The maximum penalty for a violation of the GDPR amounts to 20 million euros or 4 percent of the annual world turnover of a company from the previous year, whichever is higher.

When does the GDPR come into force?

Friday. The regulation was ratified in 2016 and the organizations received a two-year "transposition deadline" for preparation. This reprieve ends on May 25, 2018, when enforcement is in effect.

Does this law only apply to companies based in the European Union? Gettyimages-645750099.jpg “height =” 0 “width =” 370 “daten-original =” https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/DfUeF9quxVmMACtuKFAcziQHiPM=/370×0/2016/12/09/cd65d2b8-c01e-40e7-8341-22ecd65ee27e/gettyimages-645750099.jpg “/>

Christian Ohde / Getty Images

No – and these are the main international news. The GDPR applies to any organization that collects, processes, manages or stores the data of European citizens. This includes most major online services and companies that collect, process, manage or store data. For this reason, the GDPR essentially sets a new global standard for data protection.

On Friday several US-based news sites in Europe have stopped with some saying they are looking for ways to get back online in EU countries

What kind of data does the Data Protection Regulation protect?

The Regulation applies to a variety of personal information, including a person's name and government ID numbers. It also protects information that can show a person's activity both online and in the real world. This includes location information, as well as IP addresses, cookies, and other data that companies use to track users while surfing the Internet.

How does this affect Facebook and other social media companies?

Many major online services and social media companies are updating their privacy policies and terms of use to prepare for the new legislation. The reaction of Facebook is being scrutinized by European regulators in the face of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and past concerns about the company's data collection. On Friday, the day the DSGVO came into force, against Google and Facebook as well as Instagram and WhatsApp (both owned by Facebook), Austrian data protection officers filed complaints.

This includes Kerfufle 2007 about the company's controversial beacon advertising program, which broadcasts user activity on partner sites. And do not forget the user riot when Facebook and its daughter Instagram claimed to own user profile data and photos . The GDPR makes it clear that such activities are not in order.


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In his testimony during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Trade Committees on April 10, Zuckerberg declared his support "in principle" for a DSGVO-like opt-in standard for users before giving up her data – but he has not committed, adds "details important." Zuckerberg's notes which he left open during a brief break contained a warning: "Do not say that we are already doing what DSGVO demands.")

Reading: Back to Congress: I Welcome Regulation – If It's the Right Rule

How will that affect me, a non-EU citizen?

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple and others have all rights beyond the European Union to users beyond their data.

But these rights do not have the legal force, which means that you can not file a complaint against Microsoft if you violate the GDPR an EU citizen. While you enjoy these rights only as long as a company says you do, it shows that European regulations are changing the way large companies tackle user data.

The other way you're concerned is blocking the privacy policy I've probably received in the last few months. Many companies have drafted new privacy guidelines before DSGVO came into force, and then they told you everything at the same time.

Read: How to delete your Facebook account

Could the EU disapprove of Facebook for sketching things it has done in the past?

Does not seem. In an interview with Bloomberg, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said that the new DSGVO rules "are not applicable [Cambridge Analytica scandal] since no retroactivity is possible".

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James Martin / CNET

What effect does regulation have on hacks and attacks?

Under DSGVO, companies that have lost control of customer data or have been hacked must notify users within 72 hours. That's one of the rules that includes the maximum penalty. For example, if it is determined that Facebook has not been respected, it could be liable for a fine of $ 1.6 billion (based on its $ 40 billion annual revenue in 2016).

Is there special protection for minors?

The GDPR requires that companies and organizations require parental consent to the processing of personal data of children under the age of 16.

Does the US have a legal equivalent to the GDPR?

No. Most states have their own laws governing data breaches and reporting obligations, and most only apply to a limited set of data: social security numbers and health or financial information.

The SEC recently published guidelines on how public companies should disclose violations and risks.

Californians could vote on a privacy law this year, the California Consumer Information Disclosure and Sale Initiative. This would allow residents to request copies of their data from companies, find out to which third party companies the companies have sold their data, and ask companies not to sell or share their personal information.

First published on April 4 at 6:00 pm PT.
Updated on April 11 at 1:24 pm PT: Added Mark Zuckerberg Quotes and Other Information from his Performances before Congress
Updated May 24 at 5:00 pm PT: More Details on the law and its impact outside the EU and on Zuckerberg's appearance before
Updated on May 25 at 11:58 pm PT : Information on privacy and DSGVO complaints against Google and Facebook have been added

Cambridge Analytica Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.

Protect Yourself: A guide to the different ways you can protect your privacy online.

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