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Now we’ve got the admin out of the way, how has the GDPR affected things since its introduction on May 25? And has it made things better?
In order to opt out, in most cases, a user has to be proactive. This may only require one or two additional clicks, but it does detract from the user experience. Fortunately for companies, most people are lazy, so they accept or continue through a site with implied consent, but if a company gets it wrong and the GDPR notifications are too intrusive, they run the risk of people just bouncing off.
I’ve seen some B2B companies use data capture forms that only ask for an email address, but then have six lines of contractual agreements to accept. Conversely, other companies have kept old email lists and continue to send out marketing emails as normal because it’s a “legitimate business interest” (the vague wording of GDPR once more causing companies to act in completely different ways).
So far it feels like the GDPR has negatively affected user experience without any perceived benefits. Besides the various consent pop-ups, in the run up to May 25, my email inbox received more junk email than it ever did in the prior six months. All from companies I’d maybe once bought something from, asking me to agree to be on their email distribution list. I haven’t bought anything from you in five years — take the hint!
According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, only 20 percent of companies surveyed in the U.S. and EU last month believe they are GDPR-compliant. 27 percent of companies said they spent over half a million dollars to become compliant, while 31 percent expect to spend that figure before the end of the year in order to meet the regulations.
As far as I see it, the GDPR has created plenty of panicky companies, but mainly some very rich lawyers.
As well-intentioned as the GDPR may have set out to be, because it tries to cover so much, it has to be vague in its nature which means there are many different interpretations and loop holes for companies to go through. This will make it difficult to enforce in most instances. In my opinion, it’s going to take an absolutely massive screw up for there to be a GDPR court case and it will probably involve medical or financial data.
Most companies should have nothing to fear, but you can see why the very biggest ones might worry. Facebook was recently fined $664,000 USD in the U.K. for the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal. If that had happened post-GDPR, they could have been facing a fine of almost $2 billion USD.
At least with the money they saved they could create this completely sincere ad: