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What Europe means for you and the Internet

LONDON – In a few weeks, Europe will introduce some of the world's toughest online privacy rules. The changes aim to give internet users more control over what is collected and shared about them, and they punish companies that do not abide by the rules.

Here's what it means to you.

What are the new rules?

On 25 May, a new law called the "General Data Protection Regulation" will come into force throughout the European Union

The law strengthens individuals' rights to privacy and, more importantly, it has teeth. Businesses can be punished for up to four percent of global sales ̵

1; that's about $ 1.6 billion for Facebook.

The great bargain of the Internet has long been the protection of privacy. Companies offer free services like email, entertainment and search and in return they collect data and sell advertising.

But recent privacy scandals on Facebook and political advisor Cambridge Analytica highlight the downsides of this compromise. The system is opaque and ripe for abuse.

Europe tries to fight back.

It's too early to know how effective the law will be, but it's being watched closely by governments worldwide.

Will the Internet Look Different

Not really.

Proponents of the law say it will bring far-reaching changes to business online businesses, but in reality, the impact on your Internet experience will be minimal. For example, an American visiting Europe will probably not see a difference.

If you live in one of the 28 member states of the European Union, there is a change that you may welcome – you will probably see less of these shoes or appliance ads that follow you on the internet after making some online purchases have made.

As e-commerce became commonplace, a home industry emerged to track people on the Internet and send them back to online stores to make a purchase. Advertisers call these ads 'well-tuned', but most people think they're scary, said Johnny Ryan, a researcher on PageFair, an ad blocking service.

Mr. Ryan said the new rules would make it harder for companies to target, collect and sell information.

The new law requires companies to be transparent about how your data is handled and to get your permission before you use it. There is a legal restriction on companies having to advertise based on personal information such as relationship status, job or education, or use of websites and apps.

This means that online advertising in Europe can broaden and return to more styles similar to magazines and television, where marketers have a less detailed sense of audience.

What are your rights?

Even if you do not notice any major changes, the new law provides important privacy rights that you should consult. For example, you can ask companies what information they have about you, and then request that it be deleted. This not only applies to technology companies, but also to banks, retailers, grocery stores or other organizations that store your information. You can even ask your employer.

And if you suspect that your information is abused or needlessly collected, you can complain to your National Privacy Officer who needs to investigate.

Of course, an individual goes against a giant Corporation like Google or Facebook is not in a fair fight. The law has 11 chapters and 99 sub-articles, and the case may take up to 20 steps, according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, an industry trade group.

But the new rules allow people to band together and file class actions, a legal approach that was less common in Europe than in the United States. Desperate to use the new law, privacy groups plan to file cases on behalf of individuals. It is hoped that some successful lawsuits will have a ripple of impact and will encourage companies to tighten their dealings with personal data.

The new law also ensures that you can not be tied to a service. Businesses must be able to download and transfer their data to a competitor. This may mean moving financial information from one bank to another or transferring Spotify playlists to a competing streaming service

What about all these privacy notices

In the weeks before the law comes into effect, Internet users have received a stream Updating the privacy policy in their inboxes – Loyalty programs for grocery stores, train services, even apps that parents use for youth football all need to identify what data they collect from you and how they handle it.

The law requires that the terms and conditions are written in understandable, understandable and non-legal language. Businesses must also give you ways to block the collection of information.

But the flood of e-mails leads to fears that users agree without looking more closely.

A similar response came after the European Union had asked companies in 2011 to put warnings on websites that warn users that they were being prosecuted. The rules have led to so many pop-ups that people often agree to make the warnings disappear.

Companies argue that they abide by the privacy policy, but Giovanni Buttarelli, who oversees an independent European A trade union agency advising on privacy-related policies was unimpressed.

He criticized the wave of privacy e-mails in a way that it assumes that users must accept that they must accept the terms. I would like me to continue to use a ministry instead of giving people the choice of what information to share. Englisch: www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?op…39&Itemid=32. Buttarelli said the messages could violate the "spirit" of the law.

Will it make a difference?

It is too early to say so.

That may be an unsatisfactory answer, but the long-term effects of the new law will not be known for years.

Much depends on how rigorously national regulators enforce the rules and how they use their tight budgets. Data protection authorities in each country of the European Union will be responsible for overseeing the companies that have European headquarters within their borders.

This regulatory structure raises concerns that officials in countries such as Ireland, where Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and many other data-intensive companies are based, will be outperformed.

It's also a big responsibility to keep track of how companies use your data.

The General Data Protection Regulation provides ways to take action if your information is misused. But the question is whether people are interested enough or whether the privacy trade for convenience remains a worthwhile business.

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