The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect sometime in 2018, and both consumers and companies need to know about the potential implications. While much of the GDPR governs how businesses must handle communications about personal data, the new regulations will also affect consumers.

Active Consent

One of the major changes the GDPR will institute deals with transparency. Consumers will have to give informed consent before companies can share their personal data with third parties. In the past, companies could obtain consent with pre-ticked check boxes or by taking inactivity as consent, but the GDPR will no longer allow those strategies.

If a business wants to share your data, you must give active consent, such as by ticking a check box manually in a form. When you choose not to opt in for data sharing, you won’t have to worry about a company distributing your personal information.

Additionally, companies will have to use clear and plain language, which means that ambiguous privacy policies will no longer confuse consumers. If you’ve long felt frustrated by confusing language regarding data usage, you might find relief in the GDPR.

Easier Subject Access

Before the GDPR, the right of subject access already existed. However, until the GDPR goes into effect, consumers often have to pay when they wanted a company to turn over information and data that it had collected about them.

The right of subject access first became prevalent after the Data Protection Act, which gave consumers the right to copies of personal data from companies.

While easier subject access might help consumers feel more comfortable about the information that businesses collect, it might result in increased product and service pricing. Since companies won’t always charge for subject access, they will lose revenue, and some businesses might increase their pricing to cover those lost profits.

The GDPR also requires companies to inform consumers about their right to object. If you don’t want a company to collect your personal data, you can follow the business’s guidelines for restricting access to your data. When you exercise your right to object and your right to subject access, you gain more control over how and when organizations collect information about you.

More Breach Notifications

Data breaches can cause widespread panic, but the public still needs to know about them. The GDPR will help consumers feel more comfortable while shopping with credit and debit cards because it requires businesses to publicly announce breaches that could put consumers at risk.

UK-based companies that fail to respect GDPR compliance guidelines when conducting business with EU customers will also face heavier fines. If businesses commit data abuse, they might have to part with up to 4 percent of annual turnover. While these regulations don’t directly impact consumers, they could encourage companies to remain compliant and to avoid putting consumers’ data at risk.

Although the GDPR has not yet gone into effect, both consumers and businesses need to start preparing now. Consumers can brush up on their rights and decide how they want to handle their personal data for increased peace of mind.