THE BLOG

Four Reasons Why We Must Adopt The GDPR Despite Brexit

14/07/2017 14:58 BST | Updated 14/07/2017 14:58 BST

We may be stuck with Brexit and all of the complications that come with it, but polls have shown that 45 percent of voters believe the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU was a mistake. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that so many people have Brexit regret is the fact that saying goodbye to the EU may compromise online data privacy. Meanwhile, EU nations are looking forward to enjoying more protection after the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) take full effect in 2018.

Leaving the EU doesn't have to mean giving up online privacy, though. Instead, there are many compelling reasons that the U.K. should fully adopt the GDPR anyway. I personally want more security for my data, and I'm sure that almost everyone agrees.

1. Data privacy concerns are at an all-time high.

Approximately 10 percent of all U.K. residents have already been victimised by online fraud. I have personal experience with how devastating this can be, and I firmly believe that it would be a colossal mistake to not permanently put the GDPR in place.

It's become shockingly common to see news stories about data breaches, which puts everyone at risk. I had trusted a major U.K. company to safely store my personal information. After all, every company in the world knows that they could be targeted by cyberthieves, so it should be reasonable to assume that major businesses would take every conceivable step to protect their customers. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

It took me more than a year to correct most of the damage that was done to my credit as a result of online data theft. There are still some issues plaguing me that seem unlikely to ever get resolved. With the GDPR, the number of cyber data theft instances should begin to drop.

2. To have a uniform, and united, approach.

Something that many residents may be unaware of is a clause within the GDPR that will force most large U.K. businesses to adopt the privacy standards regardless of Brexit. Failure to do so will cause these companies to lose the ability to do business with customers in the EU.

This clause applies to any company that sells or trades services or products to 5,000 or more people located throughout the EU. If a U.K. business tries to avoid this rule, they will not only risk losing a lot of business but could also be fined as much as €20 million.

With this being the case, it's highly likely that most large U.K. companies are going to move forward with the GDPR. An unintended consequence of this is that any smaller businesses that don't do the same thing could become huge targets for cybercriminals.

Instead of putting so many people and companies at risk, the U.K. would be wise to take a uniform approach nationwide. Our citizens deserve the higher level of protection that the GDPR will provide.

3. Enhanced consent rules give people more control.

The central focus of the GDPR is to give people increased knowledge about how their data is being stored and used. Along with this comes enhanced consent rules that make it much more difficult for companies to request data that will be used for unscrupulous purposes.

A good example of the type of improved disclosure and consent the GDPR requires can be found in the world of smartphones. In 2015, Android devices began to imitate the iOS platform by forcing app developers to provide more details regarding private data usage. Improved app permissions put control of personal data back into each user's hands, and it also gave people the ability to opt out of providing non-essential data.

4. It quite simply makes the most sense.

After my identity theft nightmare, which was made possible by all of the personal data that the hacked company requested, I have become much more careful about what information I provide to businesses of all types. I think the GDPR's emphasis on consumer consent and control is a much-needed change that every nation in the world should adopt.

There is no good reason for U.K. residents to face a higher privacy risk than people in the EU. Brexit may or may not prove to have been a wise decision, but either way, the U.K. government needs to consider the needs of the people. Keeping up with online privacy security is one of the most important things our nation can do to protect our individual rights.