Will the GDPR of the EU come to the US?

Now more than ever we need protection for the personal information that we entrust to companies to safeguard on the Internet. Data breaches have been rampant, almost to the point that we just shrug our shoulders and go on about our day. Our personal information has been mined to advertise to us, to try to sell us things we don’t need and to try to get us to vote for politicians running for office. The issues related to this have finally come to the forefront thanks to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and the public is ready for change.

The EU leading the way

The citizens of the European Union (EU) were ready for a change as well and two years ago legislation passed the European Parliament enacting that change. Businesses in all member states as well as businesses from outside the EU who did business in the EU would have to abide by strict regulations regarding data privacy and data storage. Those laws went into effect on May 25.

It was a long and painful process for many businesses in the EU member states to reach compliance and time will tell whether these measures will be successful. Change inevitably will come here to the US as well. The public demands it and with a presidential election only 2 years away legislation such as this will be a hot topic, especially if data breaches occur at the rate that they have been going. Considering the deadlock that is the US Congress this could be an issue that members of both sides can get behind, after all it will be hard to run for reelection if your constituents are want this and you voted against it.

Will this come to the US?

Legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation as well as the forthcoming ePrivacy Regulation is not going to come quickly or easily. The EU’s law cannot be copied as our two systems of government and legal systems are simply too different to just clone the law. Not all of the law is relevant in the US as well. There is certainly parts of it that Congress should look into and that the American people will support as what we have now is simply not working. These issue are regarding how data is gathered, how it is shared, consent to gather data, establishing the consumer’s rights towards their data, data security and data breach protocols as well as several others.

Canada is also working on such legislation right now so chances are something like this will be implemented. It would be nice if it would come with none of the controversy of the Affordable Care Act while at the same time keeping lobbyists away and many Americans would prefer that such a measure be implemented by something a little less unwieldy than the US Congress but it is what we have. Such measures will not be easily implemented or come cheap and there will be a lot of growing pains and gnashing of teeth. In the end though with so much of our data and personal lives being online better safeguards are needed and we cannot rely on corporate America to do what is right, though many of these corporations are already affected by the GDPR since they do business in the EU.

Should you start preparing your business for such a change? Not really as no one can predict what the content of any new law or regulation would entail. That does not mean that you should not secure your customer’s information. Your customers are your business and the information that they share with you can always be more secured. Take it seriously and not only will your customers thank you but when this type of legislation occurs the transition will be much easier for you.

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