Big data ethics- On May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect for those who store the data of European Union (EU) citizens or might potentially receive traffic from them. In essence, it gives EU residents more control over their data and includes a right-to-erasure portion that allows people to request that companies delete their details in some cases.
Besides ensuring that data gets collected legally, the law obliges the relevant entities to protect that information and safeguard it from misuse. Following some types of data breaches, the affected companies must also notify the individuals harmed. Failing to so could trigger fines of up to €20m($23.2m) or 4% of a business’ annual worldwide revenue, for the worst violations.
Before GDPR came into force, there was rampant speculation about how and when fines would get imposed, and if the new regulations would have a substantial effect on data ethics at large. So, what has happened since?
Stronger enforcement is on the horizon
On the consumer side of things, it may seem like the most obvious indication of GDPR’s existence comes in the form of those annoying pop-ups that fill the screen and prevent progression when a person arrives at a website that operates in the EU and has not yet submitted data-handling choices for it.
But, Giovanni Buttarelli, the EU’s data protection supervisor, warns it will not be long before much more significant effects are evident. When speaking to TechCrunch, he clarified such a transition should happen “before the end of the year”. He also has plans that span beyond GDPR that would also affect the ethics of big data.
Buttarelli wants to publish a proposed framework for how EU privacy supervisors and antitrust regulators would work together on data-related issues. He intends for that manifesto to get revealed on the anniversary of GDPR initially coming into effect, meaning it could come out in a matter of months.
Furthermore, the newly formed European Data Protection Board aims to streamline the investigation of potential fines, so in the future, there should not be such a substantial span of time between the mistreatment of data and when a company receives notifications of wrongdoing.
The potential link between robust data collection and stifled competition
Today’s society is one where the companies that can find out the most about their customers are often the ones that get ahead. That is why Margrethe Vestager, an EU commissioner who oversees competition, believes data collection practices could impact how well companies can compete in the marketplace.
For example, antitrust regulators are concerned about companies gathering data so thoroughly thatthey shut out other companies, thereby restricting competition. Vestager has noted that she sees data as a new form of currency, meaning GDPR is within her realm.