The EU is on the verge of change regarding customer rights, and it is important that consumers are aware of this – especially after the large data leaks recently reported in the news, says HR-ON, who have investigated consumer relations with GDPR.
A large case recently reported in the news, in which a company, called Cambridge Analytica, managed to access up to 87 million Facebook users’ private information, shows that there is a need for an increased focus on personal data security. However few consumers are aware that the European Union is undergoing a very comprehensive change in regulation that will give them a whole range of new rights. This is shown in a study made by A&B Analysis on behalf of HR-ON. It is contradictory, says HR-ON’s director, Ali Cevik, as a comment on the current situation. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations comes into force on 25th May this year.
“The rules are designed to hit the big ones such as Google and Facebook, so they cannot just use people’s data in a way that consumers cannot see, and then it’s startling that so few have heard of GDPR,” explains Ali Cevik.
The survey shows that even though seven out of ten Danes have felt insecure about providing information online, only one in three have heard of GDPR. The new rules should make it perfectly clear to consumers what information companies have about them and how it is used. At the same time, the rules ensure that companies only store genuinely relevant information and that consumers are able to withdraw their commitment to sharing data as easily as they have given it.
“Everyone should know that they have the right to see what companies have registered about them and that they have the right to withdraw commitments again,” says Ali Cevik.
The new rules, and the fines associated with breaking the rules, are targeting companies, not consumers. If companies breach the new rules, they will risk fines of up to 150 million DKK, compared to the previous maximum fine of 25,000 DKK. The consumers who are familiar with the new rules may have therefore heard a lot about it through their work rather than through publicly provided information.
“GDPR will have a major impact on our lives, and it applies to the whole of Europe. Our survey is the first of its kind, and it reveals that the authorities have done far too little to inform consumers about GDPR,” says Ali Cevik.
HR-ON works with the GDPR in relation to corporate recruitment, where applicants come with a wide range of personal information that needs to be handled properly. In HR-ON’s field, potential consequences of a lack of knowledge may be that people do not get the right job positions or that companies do not get the best qualified candidates. In general, insecurity and ignorance could mean that the entire digital world runs less smoothly than it could.
“There is no doubt in my mind that insecurity and lack of knowledge about data security are linked. Therefore, consumers should also have been better informed about the rights they have and, above all, the rights they get with GDPR,” concludes Ali Cevik.