Finally, my opinion on the GDPR

I don’t talk politics around the Blog Marketing Academy. For pretty obvious reasons. I know I have people from all viewpoints here. Besides, this isn’t a political site so my opinions don’t matter.

But, just from a philosophical perspective, I am generally against large-scale government regulation.

I know sometimes it is necessary. It is part of how a civilized society works. But, the problem is that, in many cases, regulation comes out of these bureaucracies where practicality and even understanding of what’s going on in the real world is lacking.

In this instance with GDPR, you can tell that it is the essence of bureaucracy. There’s still a lot of “gray area” in it which is open to interpretation. And, much of it is done without any real understanding of day-to-day operations of small businesses. There’s no doubt that this places additional burden on small businesses that don’t have the big budgets. And due to the fine structure, it just threatens them with compliance… of an unclear set of regulations. For many small businesses, they may not have the budget to hire an IT person or a lawyer to decipher it for them.

And, so that’s my issue with GDPR. It is rather overbearing.

And honestly, the notion that it is enforceable on non-EU businesses is rather comical to me. I get that they’re saying it applies, but the reality of it is that there’s little they can do about it.

In the real-world, you’re going to have a lot of businesses not comply because it is so damn complicated and they can’t figure it out. Sadly, you’re probably also going to see many businesses just outright ban people from the EU doing business with them as a way to just wipe their hands of the problem.

All that said, I AM a fan of the SPIRIT of the GDPR… just not necessarily the implementation of it.

User privacy online is very, VERY important. As more and more of our lives go online, the issues of data security get more and more important. Just look at the issues of identify theft, data breaches at big firms like Equifax. These things matter.

And honestly, us online marketers have been operating in a “wild wild west” environment for awhile. You’ve got many who keep things ethical and above board, but you also have those marketers who subscribe to the “anything it takes to make the sale” mentality. They’ll use any and every tool to close the deal, privacy be damned.

And, that’s not OK.

So, this movement toward standards for user privacy and data safeguards is important. It needs to come to the U.S., too.

This is part of the internet growing up.

Here’s the thing…

All of us, as consumers, want our data to be protected. We hate being spammed. We don’t want to be subject to shady marketing tactics. This is what WE want as consumers.

As business owners engaged in marketing, we need to treat our visitors and subscribers exactly like we want to be treated. It’s the old Golden Rule.

And there’s no way this can be done without more transparency and without putting an end to the wild, wild west of “anything goes” to make the sale.

The way I see it, GDPR is imperfect. It is overbearing. But, even as an American business, I view compliance not as a matter of fine avoidance, but just one of common decency.

– David