GDPR – What is it

GDPR – What is it? A legacy leaving present from the EU. Regulations regarding your personal data have been governed in the UK by the Data Protection Act since 1998. They are for your protection and control how companies acquire, store and sell information they collect. Written at the dawn of the computer age and barely adequate protection then, they are now so antiquated businesses can con you into providing data in any way they please. They then squeeze more money out of you or sell it over and over for massive profits, with little or no benefit to you but with many negative outcomes, not least a cavalier attitude to security resulting in a massive increase in identity theft which is now so endemic we consider it something we just live with.

The EU have worked on a replacement for years. It took a battering from business along the way and lost a few teeth but is still a force to be reckoned with, being the most important and impactful regulation in recent times, all designed to protect you the consumer!

Businesses throughout Europe (yes that still and will include ours) are waking up to the fact they need to implement major changes to how they treat your personal data – every business not just huge corporations even your hairdresser and the local newspaper shop!

The C word. It’s all about consent. Businesses will be obliged to ensure their customers understand how data is obtained and treated; no ambiguity. No more misleading pre-ticked boxes “un-tick here if you do not agree that we will not be allowed to take your data” (and sell it to whoever we fancy, regardless of who they are and what they intend to do with it and put in place such poor security that an underachieving technophobic sloth can steal it and open a bank account in your name.)

From May, next year, you have the right to opt out of marketing, the right to be forgotten, the right to demand a copy of data kept by whoever and for them to present it to you in a readable format

Why would they do this? Money! New fines have been set at a maximum of 4% of annual turnover or 20 million euros!

We may not appreciate the implications of this for some time but it is a very nice leaving present. Own a business? Genmar now offer GDPR consultancy services to assist you in ensuring you will be able to conform.

Xmas shopping online – despite the facts proving UK internet shopping has increased 16% year on year for over 10 years, overtaking in-store spending years back, many people are still worried and confused. The best deals are to be found online not least in areas such as insurance where comparison sites work for you. Many of our older customers say they are fearful and this is perfectly understandable. We all have horror stories of being ripped off online but mainly through our own greed or stupidity “He said he was the CEO of Banque De Dodgee in Cameroon and just needed my bank details, how was I to know?”. These stories and the lack of knowledge stops many from putting their toe in the water. My advice? baby steps. Start with someone you know and trust, John Lewis maybe. Take time and become accustomed with the website. Call a human, stores want you to buy online and are very willing to assist you over the phone. Use trusted comparison sites to find the best deals for many services. We recently helped a customer buy car insurance for £250 vs the £800 she was expected to pay by renewal. Old skool – if you do not want to pay online, do your research online, print your findings and go instore.

Top tip – Black Friday 24th November – if you do not know what it is this is the USA version of the Boxing Day sales on steroids. All the major high street stores now take part so you do not even have to go online. – grab a Christmas bargain.

Best buy – Hisence H49N5500 49” TV AO.com £359

App of the month – Be My Eyes – puts blind people in touch with seeing people to assist them – free

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