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What is the point of the GDPR?

Our Website & Brand Manager - James Skinner - caught up with our Scriptwriter & GDPR Expert - James Kelly, to shed some light on why the GDPR exists and how it came to be. So...

What is the point of the GDPR?

So I like to think of the GDPR as future-proofing data protection laws, certainly from the inception of its precursor of the GDPR - The Data Protection Directive. Which started back in 1995, which I don't know if you remember but was a lawless pre-internet time...

No one really knew how much the internet was really going to become part of our everyday lives. So, the Data Protection Directive... I mean the difference between a Directive from the EU and a Regulation from the EU is that a Regulation is enforced from the EU downwards on every single country that's a member. Whereas a Directive sets certain limits and levels and goals that everyone has to achieve by making their own laws.

Now that's okay when data protection is happening locally within your country, but as the internet grew in popularity and data sharing became a lot more prevalent, it was a lot harder to manage those transfers across borders. Particularly if the data was being shared outside of the EU. And there's just no real way of guaranteeing its safety.

So rather than having 27 different sets of data laws... So rather than saying if you use this kind of technology or this kind of technology you must do XYZ, they wanted to say; here are the principles this is what you have to do with data, however you manage that, that's kind of up to you but this is what you need to achieve.

They've homogenized data protection laws into one single set of laws but at the same time they've also paved the way for any advancements that we just can't see yet. I mean no one could predict that in 1995 the internet would be in our pockets and we'd be carrying them around every day. So we don t know what s going to happen in another 20/30/40 years, but the GDPR hopefully - I believe anyway - sets the foundation for data protection laws almost indefinitely.

James Kelly

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