With GDPR regulations grabbing headlines, how is the world’s biggest company keeping your data safe?
Unless you’ve been living off-grid for the past few months, there’s no way you’ll have missed the fervent news coverage of GDPR. Short for the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR is the EU’s new law meant to govern the way companies handle your data, and your rights to know what information they hold on you.
Transgressors of the new law can be hit with hefty fines – up to 4% of a company’s worldwide annual turnover, or €20 million, whichever is higher – prompting a scramble among companies to get their affairs in order. You’ve almost certainly received emails asking you to resubscribe to email newsletters; these are motivated by GDPR.
So how exactly does GDPR affect you? And what is Apple doing to make sure your private info is safe? Let’s take a look.
What is GDPR?
GDPR is designed to make it easier for EU citizens to gain access to data that companies hold about them, and to have information removed if they so desire. This is addressed by the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ provision in GDPR. This lets you request that a company delete any info it holds on you, providing there are no ‘legitimate grounds’ for holding it. An example is given by the European Commission (EC) of a child entering data about themselves on a website without fully understanding the consequences, then having to live with those consequences for the rest of their life. In cases like that, the EC says, a right to be forgotten is particularly important.
Regarding this right, the EC has specifically said: “This is about protecting the privacy of individuals, not about erasing past events or restricting freedom of the press.” That concept – protecting your privacy first and foremost – is at the heart of GDPR. The whole regulation comprises 99 separate articles, but the most important of those cover a few simple ideas. Companies must have a specific, lawful reason to hold your data; your personal data must be encrypted; you have a right to receive a copy of your data; and you can ask for that data to be deleted, especially if it’s no longer needed.
There are other provisions, too. For example, the EC says GDPR will help to strengthen the EU internal market, influence global data protection standards, and ensure that data protection rules are enforced more effectively.
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