Upcoming data protection legislation could have big implications for how we all handle personal information.

Given the current climate of uncertainty around our relationship with European law, it’s pretty tough to attempt to get to grips with the potential implications of the planned General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But, we’re going to try.

So, first things first – what is the GDPR, and how might it have an impact on how you handle the data you collect from your customers and then use to shape your marketing communications?

Well, it’s a piece of European legislation that, broadly speaking, is all about giving individuals more control of their personal data. As it stands, the finer details of the new law are yet to be ironed out.  But it’s fair to say that companies – and the direct marketers who use the data they collect from their customers – will need to pay ever closer attention to basic principles of best practice when it comes to the matter of handling personal information. And yes – regardless of what happens with any Brexit deal, this is a piece of law that will definitely come in to force.

Whatever the final GDPR legislation brings in May 2018, it’s clear that there will be an onus on us all to be ever more transparent with individuals about what we’re doing with their personal data. But what will that mean in practice? Well, here’s a quick breakdown of what this shake up of consumer rights might mean for us.

Firstly, it’s looking likely that brands could be responsible for deleting personal data if individuals say they no longer consent to it being used. And on the subject of consent, it’s also possible that GDPR will see consumers being asked to opt in, rather than out, of marketing and data processing. Profiling is another area that could see some big changes, with the possibility that activities such as behavioural analysis for the purposes of targeted advertising could also require consent.

All of this is just a taster what GDPR could bring – once again, these are early days. So, watch this space – we’ll be returning to talk about GDPR again, and the impact it has as the legislation becomes a reality over the coming months.