While we struggle for even the most basic accountability from our tech companies, the European Union is going on the attack with a new law called GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). The law, ironically enough, is about as massive as the bloated privacy policies it seeks to simplify, coming in at 261 pages that you can read for yourself, but you probably won’t, which is exactly the problem with many privacy policies—beyond the “legalese” they employ that typically leaves even those who read them confused about exactly what they’re agreeing to. In that case, it’s often hard to tell when a company is just covering its own ass for totally normal purposes or planning to do something nefarious, and that ambiguousness isn’t exactly an accident.
ZDNet reports that Austrian lawyer Max Schems, who has successfully litigated against Facebook in the past, through his crowdfunded “None Of Your Business” group, has launched a coordinated campaign of complaints: “The first, over Android’s “forced consent”, was filed in France. Facebook is being complained about in Austria and its subsidiaries, WhatsApp and Instagram, are being targeted in north-German city Hamburg, and Belgium respectively.”
And that’s likely only the beginning. While we’d like to get some more modern protections of our own here inside the U.S., it’ll be interesting to see, in the near future, how online businesses change their ways in reaction to GDPR.
(image: g4ll4is on Flickr)
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