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GDPR…We Are Still Standing

(June 6, 2018)

I woke up on May 25th, I was alive, my laptop worked, my bank account hadn’t been cleared out and the birds were still singing. It reminded me of Y2K and the impending sense of disaster and uncertainty that surrounded that. I am not being flippant, ensuring and safeguarding privacy is a big deal and should be our individual right. However, some parties have been banging the doom drums, making scare-mongering an art-form and without doubt, creating a tidy income stream….

The May 25th date was not a ‘do or die’ date, but rather the date by which marketers needed to confirm that they are taking any necessary action to ensure that they are working towards full GDPR compliance. As is often the case, GDPR is not a perfect piece of legislation, it has ambiguity, subject matter gaps and is open to (mis)interpretation! I see it as making a clear statement that data subjects have rights and need to protect themselves, legally, against the minority of companies that have abused personal data, resulting in true egregious invasion of privacy, which caused real harm, be it financial, reputational or worse. The aim of the GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world that is vastly different from the time in which the 1995 Data Protection directive was established.

I don’t see GDPR as intended to be as a mechanism to kill commerce and prevent businesses from creating a meaningful commercial dialog with other businesses, to the end of helping businesses grow, pay taxes, create jobs, etc. In fact, a leading MEP, Marju Lauristin, responsible for the ePrivacy Regulation, has agreed that the Parliament’s intention wasn’t to unnecessarily restrict B2B marketing.

The reality is that trade has been impacted and our future demands that we now operate in a new footprint of compliance, one that most legitimate marketers already subscribe to.

As responsible marketers, it is our legal, and I would argue, ethical obligation, to respect and protect the rights of the individual, when doing business. If I ask any of my clients if they want to continue marketing and reaching out to people who are not interested, engaged or on target, they say no! This is business common sense, this isn’t new to us with GDPR!

With this new legislation in the EU, every company in every nation thought it would be an ideal time to get their privacy policies in order and flood our inboxes with notification of such…

I also predict that principles of GDPR will not be limited to the E.U. We are already seeing U.S. companies adopt similar principles in anticipation (fear?) of the Global trend to tighten up require more transparency related to data use.  That can only be a good thing but there needs to be clearer direction and differentiation around true personal or consumer, data and B2B data.  The UK DMA published a great article covering that distinction with a Top 10 things B2B marketers need to know about the GDPR and data protection.

We will be ‘watching this space’ to see how the regulators fine and classify ’invasion of privacy.’ In the meantime, at MeritDirect, we are moving forward, legitimately and responsibly and our recent Privacy Shield Certification is a positive step in the right direction and yes, we have updated our Privacy Policy too!

For more musings on GDPR and International Marketing, please contact:

Karie Burt - MeritDirect Employee


Karie Burt
VP | International Solutions


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