GDPR: What is it? Should you care?

April 24, 2018 / By Bruce McDuffee

The European Commission set out a plan back in 2012 to reform the data protection rules across the European Union (EU). However, the new regulation known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) won’t enforce it in the UK until May 25, 2018. Here is what you need to know about the GDPR and if it will affect marketing for manufacturing:

What is the GDPR?

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 12.20.00 PMThe GDPR is an EU law regulation on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU. The EU's primary goal is to give its residents and citizens back control over their data. Personal data refers to all information that can be used to identify an individual including names, email addresses, job titles, location, and any unique identifiers.

By combining the regulation within the EU, the regulatory environment for personal data for international business in simplified. When the GDPR takes full effect in May 2018, it will replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive. This means that the national governments do not need to draft new legislation to make the regulation binding.

Internet usage has changed significantly since 1995. GDPR was launched to modernize the data protection law. Today, services such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Twitter are offered to the public for free as long as users provide their data. The GDPR desires to fix this and give the public with more transparency on how their data is being collected and used.

Will It Affect U.S. Based Businesses?

Many U.S.-based businesses ask why they should care about an EU regulation, thinking that it will not affect them. However, any company who has a web presence and markets their products online will be affected. If your manufacturing company handles the data of EU consumers, the changes regulated by the GDPR will affect you.

According to the GDPR, if you collect personal data or any information on the purchasing behavior of consumers who are in an EU country, you will be subject to GDPR requirements. However, if the EU citizen is not in the EU at the time of data collection, GDPR does not apply.

Because GDPR can affect non-European manufacturers, it’s important for any manufacturer who operates globally to review the regulations. The GDPR covers a wide range of requirements which include consent, data transparency and fairness, and purposes of date use.

The GDPR stresses consent. Without consent that is clear and explicit, you cannot obtain data from US consumers. According to the GDPR, ‘consent’ of the data subject means “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her. "

Ultimately, you will need to make adjustments mainly if you collect personal data to market your business. For EU-based users, you will need to ask permission and only use their email addresses for the purpose you stated. Under GDPR, EU consumers also have the right to ask for deletion. Failing to will be considered a breach.

The manufacturing industry thrives by forging lasting relationships based on trust and transparency. Embracing the GDPR and respecting the regulations is a way to establish trust with your EU buyers.

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