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The beginning of the end – Part 1 of a GDPR story

We aren’t so different, you and I. I’ve signed up to newsletters in stores to get a discount on the spot. I’ve accepted website cookies, terms and conditions and typed in my details to book flights but what happens next? I’ve been wondering where all that information goes and apparently I’m not the only one.

I don’t mean to scare you but

Have you been getting emails from every service, app, website and social media platform you’ve ever thought about? I have and there is a reason. The law isn’t changing… It changed back in 2016. If you missed the newsflash like I did, time is running out. A number of data protection laws and rules have passed and May 25, 2018 is when businesses will be shut down, sued and in some cases people will start to go to prison.

I’ve spent the last 6 years talking about the impact and benefit of technology, diversity, a better work lifestyle and community. As someone who is determined to push these cultures forward with actions, I first became conscious about the new data laws about a month ago. During the 2018 German Coworking Conference held in Bremen, I met a few people from all over Europe, who were genuinely uncomfortable about what the law changes might mean for them.

Over the next few days, my journey of discovery turned to fear. That un-comfortability both in those people and in myself grew. All of this seemed very overwhelming. I asked via social media, ‘surely this big data stuff doesn’t apply to us. The freelancers, founders, entrepreneurs and micro or small businesses?’ The general reply was yes, it especially applies to us. We are the low hanging fruit. We are the easy target for the powers that be. This sparked many more questions;

How much time do we have to make a change?

What do we have to do and who can help us?

What happens if we aren’t fully compliant?

Is this another big cookie scare?

The last big internet shake up was the website cookies panic. A lot of people were also scared at the time but in hindsight many now see it as a storm in a teacup by comparison. They say hope isn’t a strategy and crossing our fingers dreaming the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is much like the Cookie Law, isn’t the best plan. Scary movies and bad dreams are worst experienced alone. But the GDPR is no movie. This journey of discovery is daunting however, I know I don’t have to go it alone.

Yes I’m scared about the possibility of founders, businesses and even my coworking space being shut down for having a Slack channel, newsletter or WhatsApp group. So like any damsels in distress, I’m going to scream and hope someone comes to my rescue.

Cry For Help

Who can help the thousands of people who feel lost in the maze of new guidelines, legislation and clickbait? If you have further questions or any answers about the GDPR and data security please get in touch.

To stay up to date with all things European Coworking Assembly, and to follow our GDPR journey, connect with us on Facebook & Twitter. I’d love it if you shared this blog.

Who am I when I’m not on a quest to slay the dreaded data dragon?

My name is Alex Ahom from London, England. For the last five years I’ve been building creative communities and pioneering the future of work movement. I’ve created some interesting and innovative events, became a Director at the European Coworking Assembly, started a coworking space (Shhared) and also hosted/presented a few national and international conferences. This topic has come up so much recently, I thought i’d reach out and start a conversation.

Follow me in this mini series in search of the truth and stay in touch.

#coworking #startup #online #GDPR #data #wednesdaywisdom

Reach me at LinkedIn & Twitter

This is Part 1 – Also at Medium

Part 2 – Audio interview with one of London’s top experts – SoundCloud

Part 3 – The Q&A portion of the journey is also live, at Included

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