## For Immediate Release ##
June 7, 2018 – Salem, Oregon – In talking with local businesses about the new European Union law called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect on May 25th, 2018, it is clear that most are uncertain what the law means and what they may need to be doing about it.
“After a lot of conversations with local businesses, and even local website designers and marketers, it appears that most people are not well informed about the new law, how it might affect their business, and what they may need to do about it”, stated Tim Fahndrich, President of Third River Marketing.
The law’s primary intent focuses on transparency and how businesses collect, process, use and protect personal data of those in the EU. However, most experts agree that it can affect marketers and businesses around the world, even if they’re not in the EU. Basically, after May 25th, 2018, if a business is not in compliance it could result in damage to their brand and reputation, as well as potentially facing large fines up to 4% of a company’s revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater). While most companies in the EU have taken action, many in the US have not.
“Most local businesses here in the U.S. either haven’t heard anything about it, or they just don’t think the law applies to them because they aren’t in the EU or typically don’t do business in the EU,”, added Fahndrich. “The reality is, however, that it is very easy to collect and process personal data from residents in the EU, which would likely force them to be compliant and subjects them to the law.”
For example, let’s say somebody lives in the EU, but their parents live here in the US. The EU resident is looking for a [insert industry] for their parents, and finds the website of a local provider where the parents live. Once they visit the website, they might receive a cookie tracking their IP address, submit an online form requesting more information, get added to an email newsletter, etc … and now suddenly the company has their data and are subject to GDPR compliance. See how easy that was?
Also, most experts also believe that it is only a matter of time, given all the high profile privacy and data issues that we’ve seen recently in the US, until similar laws will come to the US.
GDPR also provides several important new rights to EU residents, including the right to know what personal data an organization has collected on them, and the right to have that data erased.
Fahndrich recommends that local businesses DO take this seriously, even though it may seem superfluous or that you will never need it.
“Moving towards GDPR compliance is kind of like wearing a seat belt or having insurance”, stated Fahndrich. “You hope like crazy you never need it, but if you ever do, you’re incredibly grateful that you have it. In the meantime, you still wear your seat belt, and you continue to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars every month for your insurance policy.”
While it can certainly be overwhelming, there are some practical steps that a local business can take, including;
- modifying their website to include proper transparency and consent notices
- reviewing agreements with third party programs that might process data on their behalf
- putting new processes in place to handle the requirements of the law
- and educating their team on what it all means
Fahndrich recommends consulting with an attorney or a local GDPR consultant right away to help move towards compliance.
“It’s not too late to take action on this important new law,” added Fahndrich. “At its core, being transparent and taking more precautions of how we use and protect the data of all internet users is a good thing for all of us. Plus, we believe it is only a matter of time until the U.S. implements much stricter data and privacy laws as well. Taking action now protects your brand, positions you as a market leader, and helps you stand out in the market place.”
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About Third River Marketing:
Located in Salem, Oregon, Third River Marketing is a nationally recognized digital media and marketing agency specializing in helping local businesses become market leaders in their community. Third River Marketing is also helping to implement GDPR solutions for it’s local business customers across the U.S.
Third River Marketing
(Note: We are not attorneys. Nothing on this page is to be taken as legal advice.)