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What to do about all those GDPR emails

By now, you’ve probably received dozens of emails - from every company you’ve ever interacted with - either asking you to confirm that you’ve opted into receiving their emails (did you?) or just reiterating their privacy policy. I’ve personally received emails from an estate agency whose only contact with me previously was ignoring an email I sent them about a property in Chiswick two years ago.

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So what can you do about this new assault on your inbox? We have a couple of tips for you to keep in mind whilst you weather the storm.

1. Know why this is happening

The reason you are receiving all these emails - even if it’s not mentioned by name - is because of the imminent effect of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation is a major overhaul to Europe’s data protection regulations, which have not been updated since the early days of the internet.

GDPR will change how organisations handle the customers’ personal data, and give control back to the individual. This is the right thing to do. The penalties for organisations who misuse the data are severe which is why companies are staying ahead of the regulation and double - or even triple-checking - that they’ve got user consent to store and use data.

Forgive us at Vable for being among the many who have sent out emails about GDPR. Like most companies, we’ve aimed to keep it short, sweet, and informative. We link to our brand new About GDPR page and give you the highlights of how we are GDPR compliant.

2. Use this as an opportunity

Have you taken the time lately to go through your email subscriptions? Have you done an audit to see what data companies hold on you? Probably not. And if you’ve relied on shortcuts like Unroll.me to do the work for you, you may have been surprised to find out that you paid the price in privacy.

The good news is that to some extent, you don’t have to do anything. You can just sit back and wait for the emails to roll in. They will ask you to allow every company that has your email address to contact you and request permission to keep you on their list. If you want to keep receiving their communications, you can opt back in, but if not, you can just do nothing. This is, at least partially, what the lawmakers who created the GDPR intended - for you to be in charge of who contacts you.

We’ve recently enabled double opt-in on our website, and will be checking in with our contacts list to ensure that everyone who receives our communications really wants to. We hope that you’ll allow us to keep sending you blogs and other information that you might find useful - and remember, you can always update your preferences or unsubscribe at the bottom of any of our emails to you.


3. Watch out for spam

The usual rules apply when it comes to vetting these emails. Be sure to check that they are not phishing emails, and look out for the typical signs: bad spelling or grammar, incorrect or misused logos, or requests for you to transmit personal information in an insecure way. Exercise particular caution if you receive an email from a bank asking you to log in and review their privacy policy - do not click on any links you can’t verify. If unsure, it’s better to visit the URL of the bank in your browser independently and check for a pop-up message.

The GDPR has certainly given a lot of people intense headaches (full disclosure: myself included), but we think it will be worthwhile in the long run. We need to get to grips with the increasing concerns about privacy in the digital age, especially in the wake of scandals like Cambridge Analytica and whatever the next great revelation will be.

Have you been receiving privacy emails from organisations? What is the most surprising one you’ve received?

 

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Endnotes:


  1. Barrett, B. (2017) How To Stop Services Like Unroll.Me From Snooping On Your Gmail, Wired https://www.wired.com/2017/04/stop-services-like-unroll-snooping-gmail/
Topics: GDPR privacy Bigdata Ethics Data Protection Data