What is GDPR and the Influence on American Websites

After being approved by European Union (EU) in April 2016, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) began enforcement on May 25, 2018.

What is GDPR?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation replaced the previous Data Protection Directive, with goals of harmonizing data privacy laws around Europe. It requires website operators to have the highest levels of privacy protection for its users, or suffer financial consequences.

GDPR specifics

For most websites and businesses, user data is an important part of functioning and providing products and services for your customers. Without any leniency, GDPR looks to completely protect consumer data, while giving consumers ultimate control over how their data is used.

Companies must take steps in ensuring the safety of consumer data, while allowing its customers to monitor and control their data, and delete, if desired. Common terms that arise when on the topic of protection consumer data, are “anonymization” and “encryption.” These terms focus on removing identifying information from a user’s data, or encrypting information so it cannot be recognized to outside observers.

How does GDPR affect you?

Although this major step in data protection was implemented in the European Union, it provides protection to EU citizens, no matter where their personal information travels to. This meaning, that sites in the United States that have a database including EU citizens, must comply. No matter the size of the company, US sites must comply with comply with the newly-enforced standards, or block EU users altogether.

For large, multinational corporations with many EU customers, compliance will be the best option to sustain continued sales and growth within Europe.

Steps forward 

With the importance of keeping user data safe, it is important to move forward with protecting EU users on your site, as well as complying and protecting your company from strict financial penalties. Many large US sites make daily efforts to ensure data privacy and not becoming another headline for a national data breach.

Although it may not become law in the United States for years to come, it will start to become the norm, as leading companies that sell to European customers, protect those users, as well as customers from all over the world.

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