5 reasons not to be scared of GDPR

Major new legislation coming into place on May 25, 2018 will give individuals much more control over what happens to their personal data – but if you’re a business thinking of this as GDP-arghh, you’ve got it all wrong. Here’s why:

1) It’s all about trust. The consumer trust that is crucial to the digital economy is being greatly damaged by the data brokering and surveillance capitalism endemic across the whole tech industry at present. Under GDPR, transparency and control over how data is used will not only be a legal requirement policed by regulators with significant teeth and fining power, but crucial to persuading customers to engage with you. Those who do will do so wholeheartedly, because they trust you to use their data for your stated purpose. As trust becomes the frontline in company reputations, and a key consumer differentiator, it has never been more critical to be using personal data in the right way.

2) An enabler for innovation. Consumers are crying out for both personalised services and more privacy for their digital footprint, and GDPR provides opportunities to do both. But doing personalisation right requires fully accurate data, something not many businesses have access to at the moment. Getting fully consented data direct from the source who created it, enabled by GDPR’s data portability requirement as well as apps like digi.me, will be a boon for innovation across all industries and sectors. The result will be deeper customer relationships and happier customers – a true win-win for all.

3) The privacy seesaw. It used to be a straight choice between sharing your data or keeping it private, with no middle ground for those who wanted the benefits of both. But now, through GDPR-compliant innovations such as digi.me’s Consent Access platform, you can gain all the benefits of sharing and privacy without compromising either. When individuals own their own data, banks or insurers, for example, wanting to analyse slices of that information can simply ask for permission to run an algorithm over the relevant slices of the data, returning only the result. The company gets what they need to make an informed decision and the consumer gets their personalised quote or score, while no data leaves the user’s app or device. Again, a win-win for all concerned.

4) Patient centricity. Giving patients access to their health data is a key way to ease pressure on health services worldwide, as well as empowering patients and giving them access to personalised healthcare treatments and services. Evidence from the 13-million strong Open Notes study in the US found simply returning health data to patients resulted in major benefits, from living healthier lives to reduced healthcare spending. And more APIs to download data from existing medical siloes will be an upshot of GDPR.

5) A marketing reset. Ad tech and data scraping from behind our backs, while legal, has become a pain so great that hundreds of millions of people have deployed ad-blockers. Under GDPR, with consent and compliance now in the hands of consumers who are unlikely to grant it to advertisers or businesses they don’t trust, the solution has to be based on value. Now more than ever, businesses will have to justify their place in the vast repertoire of brands that consumers can choose to engage with, and relevant and engaging content will be the key to success in that.

The introduction of GDPR sees the EU fundamentally leading the way in data privacy worldwide, with the new rules forcing even the big data-hungry American tech giants such as Facebook and Google to take a step back.

Companies that formerly fought European court battles over privacy are now working to give users more control over their personal data, and that, along with the innovation opportunities that GDPR will bring, can only be a good thing for all of us.

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