Why the Internet has not imploded on 25th May 2018

Unless you have been living under a rock you will now probably be sick of hearing about those 4 little letters ‘GDRP’, especially if you run a small business yourself!

I’ll admit that when I first heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation which is replacing the incredibly outdated Data Protection Directive, I was a bit nervous that it was going to be this huge thing that would implode the Internet. When the last legislation was written up Google wasn’t even a thing so it was well overdue and now when I look at the big picture, the new legislation will make the world (well the EU at least) a better place.

I can’t say I now know everything there is to know about GDPR because I’m not a legal professional but I probably know a lot more than I really need to for the purpose of my own micro business. Once I get the bit between my teeth I can’t help but read every article and watch every video no matter how dull the content is! I purchased The GDPR compliance pack from Suzanne Dibble (GDPR expert) and spent many evenings watching her very informative video chats even about topics that weren’t even relevant to me.

My main takeaway from my research concluded that there wasn’t too much work I needed to do to make sure my business was legal and above board and I think I actually spent about 2 days in total spilt over a couple of weeks getting my privacy policy updated, filling in the relevant documents in the compliancy pack and Googling stuff (what did we do back in 1998?). This might sound like a lot of time to some people but when you know how obsessive I get about these things I have probably gone further than I really needed.

Privacy seems to be a bit of a luxury in the modern world where everything is connected and tracked.  I sometimes think that life without mobiles and internet would be easier, then I remember how many times I’ve checked when the next bus is due on my phone or pulled over to look at a traffic map when I’ve spotted a jam up ahead. However, it is important to know what companies have information on us and what they are doing with it. Transparency seems to be the predominant feature of the new legislation. I also like the right to be forgotten clause, I have this crazy idea that one day I might want to go off the grid and live on a farm with 27 cats.

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Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@samburriss

There has been a great deal of panicking about the new laws especially in the small craft business community, rumours spread like wildfire and they can be hard to extinguish. The important thing to remember is that the ICO (the ones who are regulating all of this) are not trying to ‘catch us out’ and sending out fines of millions of pounds. They are just trying to make it safer for our personal data and if it stops the endless emails from dodgy companies that have bought my email address from a list then I’m definitely in favour.

If we as small businesses are collecting any data such as from customers or potential clients, then we need to make sure we are dong it legally and it is being stored securely. Reporting security breaches sounds like a really dramatic thing but the chances of actually needing to do it are slim to non but it is worth finding out how and why in advance to be prepared for any situation. GDPR should be treated the same as any other aspect of our businesses.

So, there you have it. The internet has not imploded on the 25th May 2018, even if my personal mailbox has been hit hard over the last few days. It has been a good opportunity to unsubscribe from the companies that I no longer felt connected to and didn’t realise still had my information. I did hold onto the rescue cats newsletter though incase that dream about living on a farm with 27 cats comes to fruition!

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Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@frsphoto

But…

please, please don’t bury your head in the sand though. If you are yet to get things in place then make sure you sort it as soon as possible, it really isn’t as bad as you think! This blog post is not designed to be any kind of substitute for legal help, you should check out the ICO website (if you are UK based) or the Suzanne Dibble Facebook Group for starters. If you have an Etsy shop, they have a privacy policy template ready for you to personalise.

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