Your inbox may be looking a little something like this recently. Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so many other companies are updating their terms and conditions.
If you’re unaware, the terms of conditions you click “agree” to before you log into a service or do anything nowadays on the Internet lays out, in detail, what that company will or won’t do with your personal information, usage on their platform, and the data it collects from you. Depending on the platform, they will collect different things but for tech giants like Google they can track anything from your late night Google searches to what ads you like or videos you watch on Youtube. We have so much access to data nowadays. So much in fact, as analysts, some of the challenges we face is what to do with it all and what’s important.
Terms and Conditions are written to be super lengthy, wordy, and long on purpose because companies know 1. that you won’t read them because who actually does? 2. the longer, wordier it is the less likely you are to understand it or try to read it. That can be dangerous because companies can sneak in policies that you “agree” to that harm the user and can be a misuse of your sensitive information. As a user, you may not directly see the direct effects of misused data but you should pay attention to how companies use it. Most of the time, companies use your information to advertise or they just sell it to the highest bidder.
Now the reason your email inbox is getting spammed with updates is because of a European Data Governance regulation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I’ll spare you the 261-page read and give you the highlights.
The GDPR is going to make sure that companies don’t sneak in documents or terms within their Terms and Conditions that can affect their users. Since companies know that most people don’t read the conditions, the GDPR is hoping to make sure the information is transparent so users know what they are getting into. This is a huge step because information about how you use technology is so important. You want to know who sees your information and how it’s being used. The terms and conditions explain it we just don’t take the time to read it. I’m guilty of it too.