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New EU data rules stop us being 'naked'

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New EU data rules stop us being 'naked'

New EU data rules stop us being 'naked'
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New EU rules come in this week, which aim to give us more protection when it comes to our personal data.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) should make it easier for us to access information that companies hold about us. And, for businesses, they have to be clearer about consent.

After all the scandals we've seen of late, like Cambridge Analytica, many will be welcoming it.

How bothered are you?

Do you know how your personal data's being used? Take the Google Timeline feature, for instance. If you don't change the settings on your phone, it will track your every movement - recording where you've been and when.

Rob Heyman is a researcher at the VUB University in Brussels. Euronews took him into the city to test out how much people know about the use of their personal data.

"Basically what you are going to see now is your history, recorded by Google, all the locations you have been to and also when you take pictures they show the location as well. We can see where you live, what you have been up to, that day how you moved about," Rob tells one man in the street, as they look at his smartphone.

"That's not good," the phone user says, adding "I didn't know it, that's scary."

"What I don't know really scares me"

A woman, who was equally surprised when shown the Google Timeline feature, commented: "I don't know how they use it, only for commercial purposes or for something else. I really don't know. And what I don't know, really scares me."

After the experiment, Rob told Euronews: "Only a very small sub section of people are really concerned enough to take the efforts and finding out whether their smartphones are collecting all this data. The general feeling is that it's happening to other people, but certainly not to me."

'Europe had to react' - says Commissioner

Speaking to Euronews, the EU's Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, Věra Jourová, said the tougher EU privacy rules aim to get all of us thinking more - and to hold companies to account.

"These are important rules, which enable the people to get back their privacy, under their control, under their consent, so that they are not just objects, just easy to manipulate crowd, the crowd whose personal data you can monetise, you can sell, because this is the situation now - and Europe had to react," she explained to reporter Damon Embling.

A strong deterrent

Euronews: "After all the data scandals that we've seen, how reassuring will these new data rules actually be?"

Věra Jourová: "You rightly point out this is about trust and confidence.

"We still have rules from 1995, I didn't have mobile, I saw the mobile on the London street in 1996 and I was quite surprised about the new technology. So just a reminder of the need to have new rules which react on the big technology development and why the rules should be obeyed, well to be pragmatic I could start with the sanctions because GDPR will for sure work as a very deterrent factor against the use of private data."

'Naked in an aquarium'

Euronews: "How do you get over the fact that people are still going to press OK and not read the small print?"

Věra Jourová: "I would like the people to understand better that now they have the chance to read, to reject, to ask the company, give me my data back."

Euronews: "Do you always read the small print?"

Věra Jourová: "Well, of course not (laughing)"

Euronews: "So there could be data held about you, you don't know about?"

Věra Jourová: "We want them to give simple information, we need your data for marketing, we will do this or that. When they change the purpose they should come back to the people to explain in a simple way why such a change of purpose.

"There is another thing with the Facebook scandal, many people have just realised they are naked in an aquarium. That's why we want the people to dress up."