In my work as a GDPR trainer the one question I get asked over and over is…

What is GDPR and how does it affect me?

 

GDPR in some shape or form was always around but it was finally incorporated into a EU wide document and launched in 2018- this levelled the playing field across the EU and gave guidelines and regulations as how businesses should be processing your personal information.

 

What is personal data?
It is any information that would make you identifiable to other people. Your drivers licence dropped on a floor, being picked up by someone and them being able to identify you – that is personal data. Your email address being added on the bottom of an email chain and sent to others in your office – personal data.  A file containing some of your work along with your staff ID Card – Personal data.

 

But how does it affect you?
Thankfully GDPR was formalised to create someone just like you. It might be big and scary but once you get to know the main concepts it is really just there to protect us. It is not as common now, but remember the days when you’d sit down to dinner and the phone would ring, someone would jump up to answer incase it was an emergency only for it to be a window salesperson or some sort of telemarketing. If you get a phone call or email from someone you have never heard of you must wonder how they got your information. 

This is where GDPR comes into play to stop this (and dinner distrupting calls) from happening. The years of marketing lists being sold from company to company are over and now the power of who contacts you lies with you. 

Think of it like this – your personal data is your locked front door- if people are sending you information without your permission, sharing your personal data with other people, they are barging through your front door, bypassing your wishes and are into your house. A Scary thought indeed!

GDPR gives you an added security bolt to your front door. Sure people might try it on now and then, but they won’t get very far. People might have the key to open the door but the door is double locked- so it is extra security for you and one we would all recommend. 

What to do if someone unknown contacts you
If someone contacts you and you don’t know how they have your information you can go back to them and do either of the following: 

  1. Unsubscribe if they give you the option
  2. Ask them to stop contacting you and delete your information
  3. Send a Subject Access Request to them to find out exactly what information they are holding on you- they have 30 days to respond to you and should by law acknowledge receipt of your request and act on it This will show how they obtained your personal information 

 

If they keep contacting you after you have carried out one of the above then you can take legal action against the company – this will make sure they sit up and take notice!