You and I are the commodities of the new economy, or rather the information we leave behind on the web. As of 25th May, the EU’s new data protection regulation, named GDPR, is enforced throughout the EU. We have now been given the right to decide on our digital footprint.
The basic principle of the new rules is that no information may be saved without the user having approved it. That is why you are now forced to answer questions about the terms and conditions of each and every site. The new rules make clear the protection of personal privacy on the Internet.
Even if you said yes, you have the right to change and request that the data cease to be used.
Data is collected everywhere
Since the current rules were introduced in the mid-1990s, internet usage in the world is estimated to have increased by over 18,000 percent. All of this surfing, chatting, Facebooking, network jumping and porn surfing do, leave a small piece of information about ourselves – which are collected, harvested, processed and sold by digital giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
Used in the companies customer register
Even small businesses with a site, and ISPs, or banks – really anyone who is online in one way or another – gather lots of information about users. Not to mention that the true personal information that we completely deliberately and voluntarily leave on social media.
In its simplest form, it is about data in customer registers used to email advertisements and offers.
In its most advanced form, the information is filtered and sorted to allow advertisers to reach targeted advertising to, particularly interesting audiences. For example, if you do a Google search for Cycling or bike touring, you can be sure to continue to see ads on cycling.
The new rules do not just mean that a consensus is still needed to save and process information about users. They also give greater control over how our information is used.
You will now have the ability to say no, to companies that deal with direct marketing data. Even if you said yes, you have the right to change and request that the information cease to be used for advertising purposes.
Action to take
If you are dissatisfied with the use of your information, you should first contact the company directly and request a correction.
If this does not help, you can turn to the authorities in your country that deals with Data Protection.
The digital tracks we leave behind – and how to remove them
Small information bits, stored on your computer, phone, and tablet when you are online and whose main purpose is to get the sites to work better when you visit them.
Then remove them: In the browser’s settings, you can choose to quit cookies, in whole or in part. You can also clear the ones already stored in the computer.
The GPS feature enabled in apps like Google Maps stores all information about where you are located. The information is stored in the background, even when the app is not running.
How to become invisible: In the settings, you can turn off the location services for all apps or selected apps.
It is used to track users’ browsing. The information is collected in large databases and used as a basis for targeted ads.
Here’s how to get rid of them: Browser settings allow you to stop tracking cookies and delete existing ones on your computer. Exactly how to proceed varies between browsers and operating systems, but the function is usually under the “integrity” or “security” tab.
The sites can see the visitors’ IP-number and the computer they use. The internet service provider can also follow in detail what you do on the network.
How to protect yourself: By using a virtual private network, VPN, you can at least become invisible to the ISP. A VPN connection usually resembles an encrypted tunnel to another point on the web.
We leave lots of personal information on social media or when we shop online.
Here’s how: In the settings to Facebook, you can download a summary of the information collected. There you can also change the ad settings and delete apps that share the information.
It contains detailed information about pictures, pdfs and other files. For digital images, for example, information about when they were taken, what camera was used, what type of camera and shutter speed. If the camera or mobile phone is equipped with GPS, there is usually also information about where the image was taken.
How to remove metadata: In Windows, you can easily delete all metadata from images and other documents by right-clicking on the file, selecting “Properties” and then “Details” and finally “deleting properties and personal information.” – You might want to read this finding digital photo location
GDPR is here, it gives us as individuals better freedom on how to use our data when we are online, only time will tell how we as individuals will opt out of data collection or not. We are as individuals very ignorant of what goes online with our ow data and we only seem to react when there is a big breach or how our data been used to even influence elections. I hope this gives you guidance on steps to take.
As always, I’m interested in your comments, you can add them in below.