On May 25, Europe’s new privacy laws came into effect. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was put in place to help protect internet users and their privacy. During a time when many consumers are concerned about online privacy, the GDPR puts more power into the consumer’s hands.
Although it doesn’t stop companies from collecting personal data, what it does do is make it more clear for consumers. Organizations must be transparent as to what type of data is collected. Not only that, it must be noted what the company tends to do with the information they receive. So, simply putting it in fine print or checking off a box that agrees to what they want will not be enough.
How Does the GDPR Affect Consumers?
The GDPR is a big win for consumers in the European Union. Beforehand, companies could gather your information with minimal consent, and you wouldn’t know what they plan to do with it. It doesn’t matter if the data is not processed in the EU region, it will still fall under the GDPR.
Basically, the consumer has more control now over what type of information is shared with organizations. Quite often, the tracked data is used for targeting ads related to your online activity, making users uncomfortable. The GDPR will prohibit organizations from doing that without your consent.
Furthermore, the new regulations require companies to allow consumers to opt out of data sharing and delete any data already stored. Anything related to your personal data and your online activity is now more under your control versus the company wishing to access it.
Where Do VPNs Stand?
It is becoming quite common for internet users to download a VPN software (Virtual Private Network). Once installed, a VPN is one of the most reliable methods of encrypting and protecting your data and privacy while online. It creates a tunnel for your data to travel to and from the connected network. The VPN makes it virtually impossible to see and access your data.
VPNs also protect your location. Each device you use that connects to the internet has an IP address (Internet Protocol). Your IP address reveals your device’s location. A VPN can either mask or change your IP address to make it look like you are somewhere else.
So, do VPNs comply with the new GDPR? Some VPNs will keep a log of your online activity while connected to the VPN, which in the end, defeats what you are trying to do with the software.
However, many reliable VPNs only keep a connection log, which is the basic information you provide when you sign up for the service. A connection log is to help keep track of users and optimize the quality of service you receive.
A VPN must comply with the GDPR just like any other company. Any stored data from the VPN service must be noted to the user, and the service provider must provide the highest level of security as possible. In the end, the GDPR is there to protect your information as much as possible, and the VPN must also comply.
Author: Jordan Choo, Content creator at AnchorFree