GDPR is probably the best piece of legislation of the decade

Sure, everyone is currently moaning and bitching about getting compliant and having to spend money on it, but that is actually a good thing! In the past, collecting data by invading everyone’s privacy came at virtually no cost. Everyone knew it was wrong, but did it nevertheless because consultants told us it was the thing to do (after all, you have to keep up with the competition). As long as you had an exhaustive privacy statement, everything was peachy. Previous legislation simply allowed you to do heinous things on the condition that you openly stated your intentions and got informed consent for them. Of course we all know, that to be legal bullshit, since people tend not to (properly) read the contracts they sign. The end result was raising a whole generation thinking that total loss of privacy was a good thing because it gave them “free” services.

In the past, I used to tell people, that we should probably have a tax on collecting private data, for the same reason, we have a tax on alcohol and tobacco. The idea, of course, was stupid. It’s technically impossible to implement and steering taxes usually backfire anyways, since the state then earns money from a misbehaviour it originally intended to abolish.

The GDPR is something a lot better than a steering tax, as it makes data collection expensive without turning the state into an accomplice! Worse (better), yet, the cost of collecting personal data rides on court orders.  A flat fee can be incorporated in a price calculation. An unpredictable fine can’t. In other words, the GDPR is a genius move that turns personal data collections from asset to liability. This shoots “let’s just take the whole haystack” business model out of the water and companies will have to think twice about what data they collect (and if they need it at all). We are talking about a cultural game changer here and hopefully the next generation(s) will look back at the at the beginning of the 21st century wondering how anybody could think then that keeping a file on everyone was even a remotely good idea.

Posted in Rants