MICHELLE McBRIDE

The dreaded GDPR emails

The Irish Times Magazine - - INSIDE -

Not since Nama have four let­ters con­jured up such a neg­a­tive re­ac­tion in our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness. I’m sure even those in­volved in draft­ing and fi­nal­is­ing GDPR pol­icy have trou­ble sup­press­ing their gag re­flex. The real- life eye­roll emoji went into over­drive with ev­ery ping in peo­ple’s in­box. The lit­tle vic­tory dance you did when it told you you had to do noth­ing, as op­posed to the “grrr” that es­caped when you had to fill in a ques­tion­naire. The one where you un- sell your pre­vi­ously sold soul.

And even now, al­ready late in the data pro­tec­tion day, my frus­tra­tion has failed to fa­tigue with ev­ery “re­view your set­tings” re­quest. Just let me read it. Why can’t the data hogs sell the in­for­ma­tion that I don’t want you to have my in­for­ma­tion to these com­pa­nies? Rep­e­ti­tion is only of use in po­etry. There is an up­side to this “re­view your set­tings” hur­dle. Now I re­ally do think twice about whether I re­ally want to know if peo­ple re­ally are “all say­ing the same thing” about what Laura said on Love Is­land last night. Turns out I don’t.

While GDPR may be as an­noy­ing as that per­son who keeps ask­ing ques­tions at a meet­ing you know would have been fin­ished if they had shut up 20 min­utes ago, it is a nec­es­sary evil. We can all love to hate it safe in the knowl­edge that it is giv­ing us back some con­trol over our data. The gi­ant data har­vest­ing com­pa­nies may snig­ger as they tower over the four lit­tle let­ters. But many a great war has been won by cut­ting off an armies’ food source. Which then makes me won­der why the need for the new trendy trend of send­ing off your DNA to com­mer­cial an­ces­try com­pa­nies? Have we de­cided that “they” may not have ac­cess to our mar­ket­ing pref­er­ences but our ge­netic break­down is fair game be­cause it makes for a good “LOL” over craft beer and a pink gin and tonic?

Michelle McBride is a pri­mary school teacher and free­lance jour­nal­ist

Do you have some­thing you’d like to Sound O f f a b o u t ? E ma i l 3 0 0 w o r d s t o mag­a­zine@ irish­times. com with Sound Off in the sub­ject line

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