Digital services that enable us to do everything from paying our bills to keeping in touch with friends and family has revolutionized our lives in less than two decades. But because of this rapid development, internet is still a wild, wild west. In light of this, the European Commission has introduced General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR.

This article walks you through the basics of GDPR and then zoom in on two central, scenarios in which GDPR will affect digital communication.

What is it?
GDPR regulates collecting, storing and using data. One new reality will be the implementation of strict conditions regarding how companies handle data on individuals.

GDPR also aims to benefit companies. With GDPR being a distinct framework of what’s okay and what’s not, one of its goals is to facilitate business growth. When a new product or service is in development, legal considerations will be a lot less complicated.

Who and what exactly?
There are two terms you need to know about; controller and processor.

  • The processor provides the controller with data.
  • The controller makes the strategic decisions regarding any use of data.

Let’s clear things up with two examples.

Social media and advertising
Facebook collect user-data and offer a service that enables you to boost content. Therefore, Facebook act as both controller and processor. Facebook as a service will have to evaluate how they store, handle and package user generated data into their offer.

These changes will alter the digital landscape and make true engagement and organic reach more important than the amount of money you put into advertising. Strategies are going to be re-drawn along with new approaches to digital communication. This aligns well with the updates Facebook did to their news feed, which we discussed in a previous article.

And of course; if you have similar product or service that relies on insights from user-data, you’re in for the same kind of adjustments.

Pay more attention to newsletters
Newsletters is one other example where many of us acts as controller, and will carry more responsibility with the arrival of GDPR. One rule of thumb could be to always carry some key questions with you:

  • Do I really need all these contacts?
  • Are some outdated and doesn’t bring any value to my newsletter?
  • Is it possible that some contacts have being added without compliance?

If the answer to any of these question is yes, it’s probably a good thing to evaluate how you work with your newsletters before GDPR goes into effect.

Since you’re the one calling the shots regarding how the data is used, you’re the controller. The receivers of your newsletter have all more or less actively signed up for it or in some other way interacted with your organization. But if you decide to use the data for some other purpose, perhaps if you have several newsletters or share information with some other organization, it could violate GDPR.

This clearly illustrates the main goal of GDPR; to give control back to people regarding how information and data on them is used.

If you want to go more in-depth about GDPR, visit