You’re getting emails from companies you’ve never heard about (maybe)

Has your email inbox filled up in the past few weeks with messages from companies asking you to review a new privacy policy? Those emails have been flooding inboxes after the European Council enacted a new law called GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. Without going into much detail, this new regulation requires companies in Europe to be more transparent about the data they collect on users.

So you don’t live in Europe, how does this affect you? Every website that has visitors who live in Europe must comply which includes virtually every company, app and website.

Here’s why you should pay attention to the new regulations and how companies are reacting:

Up until now, it hasn’t been very easy to see what data companies collected from you. Many privacy policies are confusing and not very transparent. The new regulation requires the companies to be upfront about it. The companies are also required to notify users of the new policy and, in some cases, ask that the user opt-in to continue using the service.

When you see an email come to you with the words “Privacy Policy”, “New Terms” or GDPR, it is important to open the email and look at it, especially if it is from a company you’re unfamiliar with. Chances are, you gave the company, app or website permission to access some of your information, store it and even share with 3rd party partners. By clicking on the email you will most likely be taken to a webpage with the information of what data the company has, collects and shares about you.

Now is a good time to review where your data is being stored. No one enjoys or even wants to read a Terms of Service Agreement or Privacy Policy but it can be important in keeping your information from being shared across the internet and the world.