May 25th 2018
Sorry, I’ve just been programmed to start thinking about the GDPR every time I write that date. If you don’t know, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new law that went into affect today which changes the way that companies in the European Union can use your personal data.
This stops companies being able to needlessly contact consumers, but it mainly aims to keep personal data safe. In light of recent events with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, that topic is more prevalent than ever in the public consciousness. Everyone is hyper sensitive about what data is stored on them, and by whom.
To be honest, my personal opinion on the whole thing is that the whole thing comes down to a decision of convenience. I know the GDPR is about more than just this, but the reason the big Facebook lawsuit happened was because its more convenient for people to click the “log in with Facebook button” on the various apps they use than it is for them to sign up with new accounts. And Facebook knows that. And so do the apps. But most people don’t really know what they’re agreeing to when they click the ‘log in with Facebook’ button.
Of course, they would know if they’d bothered to read the terms of the service they had just agreed to, but that would be inconvenient.
In my mind, it doesn’t really matter what Facebook knows about me. If Facebook is collecting that information to make my life easier, then more power to it. Technology like the internet was designed to take everything that humans can do, and make it faster and more accessible. And I want my internet-using experience to be as convenient as possible.
I want my phone to be connected to my computer, and for everything to work in sync. And to do that in the way that I desire, I’m acutely aware of the fact that I have to agree to the statements in a couple of tickboxes that I can’t be bothered to read.
I can’t be bothered, but I am also unbothered. “Do you want to allow this computer to access your device?” it asks. Yes please. Take the whole thing. Let it all work together to make my life as easy as possible.
I trust that the data collected on me isn’t human-readable, but even if it is, does it really matter? As long as you’re not doing anything wrong, all the technology is used for is making it easier for you to use the internet. And to advertise you cheaper flights, or cheaper bikes, or whatever you’re interested in.
Until tomorrow, that all sounds like good news to me.