The Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament designed the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in an effort to protect people’s personal data and privacy when on a website. Through the GDPR, websites are now required to disclose to users that cookies will be used to track their digital footprint and allow users to opt out. Most users find it cumbersome to complete the process and disregard the option. There is also a regulation that grants users the right to be forgotten which allows them to contact companies that collect, analyze and sell their data and request that they be deleted from their databases.
GDPR laws were not designed in the interest of the user but rather in the interest of the Big Tech giants: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. These key content providers and data collectors, along with many others, profit on the acquisition of user data. Google’s business model masters the art of data collection with Facebook, Amazon and Apple following in their footsteps. Microsoft, while a slightly smaller player in this arena, should not be overlooked for their influence in helping craft the GDPR.
Along with Big Tech, politicians have used the GDPR as a false cover to pretend they are concerned with digital privacy. If politicians really wanted to protect users’ digital data from Big Tech, then the laws would have been differently crafted. The right to be forgotten has confusing loopholes and is nearly impossible for users to implement. In order to be forgotten, a user must make a request to every individual company that collects data and ask to be removed. It’s a daunting task because there are so many companies who collect, analyze and sell data and it’s almost impossible to track them all down. Even if you could contact all these companies, they are constantly generating new partners with whom they transfer your data and the endless cycle continues. This is insanity. If the laws were crafted with users’ privacy as the primary concern, they wouldn’t be called ‘the right to be forgotten’ but rather ‘the right to be remembered’.