Just six months ago (25 May to be precise) the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (commonly known as GDPR) came into force. GDPR gave us all the right to control who holds information on us, what information is held and how that information is used.
Six months on, has it made any difference? I would say that it has. On a personal level my email inbox is considerably less cluttered that it used to be and I also find it much easier to unsubscribe from mailing lists. It may just be a coincidence, but I’ve even stopped getting emails from a Nigerian prince offering to make me a multi-millionaire in return for me sending him my bank account details!
On a professional level I’ve posted a data protection policy statement on my website and I no longer send out the mass e-mailings that I used to do. I do still send unsolicited press releases to journalists as this is allowable under GDPR on the basis of legitimate interest.
One unintended consequence of GDPR in my recent experience is that people no longer dole out business cards at exhibitions and other networking events in the way that they used to. Before GDPR exhibitors often had a business card draw which allowed them to build up a list of potential customers. Not any more.
One branch of the communications industry which ought to be doing well under GDPR is Direct Mail which is not require the same level of consent as online communication. Yet, according to Print Week magazine spending on Direct Mail has actually fallen over the last six months. It looks like it will take businesses a little longer to get to grips with the ins and outs of GDPR.
I know that this seems like a dry and boring subject, but there is some humour in it. A number of online platforms have the following cautionary tale, “He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice. He’s going to find out who is naughty or nice. Santa Claus is contravening the General Data Protection Regulation EU 2016/679.”