How is GDPR reshaping the Internet?

By Alex Tanglao, Last updated: 2022-10-04 (originally published on 2018-05-09)


If you have been paying close attention, several organizations are quietly rewriting their Privacy Policies. Tech giants such as Microsoft to Google are updating their terms and preparing themselves for the massive shift in the legal space. So far, the ones affected by the new GDPR laws were the legal department, but with these laws going public, Internet users are also going to be affected.

The new rule is known as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and it is set to reshape some of the most complicated parts of the Internet.

What is GDPR?

In 2016, the European Union introduced the GDPR, which covered how organizations shared and managed their personal data. It literally applies to the citizens of the European Union, but given that the Internet is global, it will affect every online service. The new  GDRP regulation introduces many changes, which users are finding difficult to adapt to.

The GDPR has been primarily built on two rules: Data Protection Directive and Privacy Shield. Firstly, the GDPR laws have raised the bar for protecting personal information with laws that have never been seen before. Going forward, any time organizations need personal information, they will need formal consent from that person. The newer laws are stronger and extend to organizations working outside the EU.

Secondly, the penalties with GDPR are even more severe. The GDPR brings hard deadlines for the organizations and will come into force on 25 May 2018.

What is going to change?

The most important and primary changes would be on the other warnings and Terms of Service section. The new GDPR regulations would require more consent as compared to the previous laws, which means that organizations would be knocking on your door always for consent to use your personal data. In technical terms, this means clicking on more ‘click to proceed’ check boxes, with better transparency.

However, the real action will be happening behind the scenes. The GDPR sets rules for organizations as to how they share the information they have collected, which means now every organization will have to rethink their approach on analytics, advertising, logins, and more. Generally speaking, most of the websites currently have 20 ads running on the website, often unknown to the person whose data they are using. But, this won’t work anymore; GDPR will be adding better features for organizations that retrieve such data and providing better transparency in understanding what they are doing with your information.

Complying with the GDPR isn’t as simple as simply adding a ‘I Agree’ or ‘I Disagree’ dialogue box for consent. There are numerous issues in play, such as whether the authors will have control over the audience data or whether search engines can piggyback on authors for getting the data.

Related reading: GDPR: What are the changes and how to keep your business up to date?

Will this make the Internet clutter-free?

It’s too early to understand the effects of this. We have a brief idea of what compliance would look like, but have no clue what EU law enforcement will be. The simplest understanding from all this is that breaches will become expensive, and cost will run further down the network. It is going to get costlier to share data, and websites will be making new partnerships only to win on the grounds of privacy.

For the last 15 years data has been freely shared on the internet, but with the GDPR things are going to roll back. However, the most profound changes will take years to arise, potentially changing the web as we know it.

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This a guest post by Abhinav Sethi. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Zegal may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Zegal here.

Author Bio

Abhinav Sethi is an avid blogger and a tech enthusiast who enjoys writing about technology and has a keen interest in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, gadgets, etc. In his spare time, he does a bit of backyard gardening and enjoys exploring new avenues in the social sphere. Follow him on Twitter @Abhinawsethi


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