May 25, 2018
GDPR Day: As Crazy as You’d Expect
For reasons unknown to me, today feels like Christmas. The deadline to become GDPR compliant ended at 11:59 last night and less than half a day into the first day, news is spilling out like lava. Last night, GDPR information webpages were going kaput as companies worldwide crashed them in their last minute attempts to gauge whether or not they were GDPR ready. Guess what? They probably weren’t.
Regulators can hit companies with fines around $ 23.5 million, and privacy activists are already lining big tech companies on the chopping block. Only hours into the effect, Facebook and Google are already facing their first complaints, filed by Austrian lawyer Max Schrems, in excess of … wait for it … $ 7 billion in cold hard dollars. (See update below.)
For companies who aren’t GDPR ready, it appears they’ve simply shut the doors on EU users. Such is the case for Pinterest’s news-clipping service, who announced that it will bar EU citizens from using the platform until further notice.
According to a Pinterest spokesperson, the blockade is a temporary measure and the company intends to “restore access as soon as possible”.
“I know that it was too short notice,” tweeted the service’s chief Brian Donohue. “I underestimated the scope of work and it was not possible to complete by the deadline, this was the required alternative.” Of course he underestimated GDPR. My guess is that many companies have, maybe even your company.
In breaking news, Tronc, the owner of major news outlets including the Los Angeles Times and New York Daily News has closed its entire portfolio of websites in European countries, and complaints have already been filed against Facebook, Google, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Update: Thanks to Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who has been a thorn in Facebook’s side for years, Facebook and Google are facing almost $ 9 billion worth of GDPR lawsuits already.