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Privacy Policy Updates + General Data Protection Regulation

May 25, 2018

By: Holly Cline

If you have been inundated with emails, notifications, and other cyber alerts from tech companies about changes to their privacy policies over the last week or so, here is why: a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law went into effect across the European Union today after being passed by the European Parliament in April 2016.

The data regulation law centers on two main principles. The first is that companies need your consent to collect your data. The second is that you should be required to share only data that is necessary to make their services work.[1]

Under the new regulations, businesses are required to actively secure permission before making use of customers’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, or web browsing history information. Thus, while some of the privacy policy updates are merely informing their users of their revised privacy policies, other privacy policy emails may also include with their disclaims a “request” for your consent. Companies that are using the these privacy policy emails to obtain their users’ “consent” to more of their personal data being shared are betting on the fact that must users immediately scroll through (without reading) privacy policies.

Using the New Privacy Controls On Twitter

Users can now more clearly see and control how their data is shared with its business partners.

How to Control Your Personal Data

On the desktop site: From the “Profile and Settings” drop-down menu, click “Settings and Privacy.” Click on “Your Twitter data,” which is located on the left-hand menu.

On the mobile app: Click on “Settings and Privacy” in the Twitter app menu. Then click on “Privacy and safety,” and scroll down to “Personalization and data.” In this screen, you can change your data sharing preferences. At the bottom of this section, click on “See your Twitter data.”

On both the desktop site and mobile app: In the “Twitter data” screen, you can see the number of advertisers that are trying to target you based on your interests in the “Interests and ad data” section. You can also opt out of this “interest-based” advertising by clicking “See all” and manually un-checking each box.

Using the New Privacy Controls On Facebook

Similar to Twitter, Facebook users can now more clearly see and control how their data is shared with its business partners.

How to Control Your Personal Data

On desktop site: When logged in to your Facebook account, go to https://www.facebook.com/settings. From the left-hand menu, click on “Ads.”

On mobile app: Click on the “three horizontal bars” button in the bottom menu on the far right. Then click on “Settings & Privacy,” then “Account Settings.” Scroll down and select “Ads.”

On both the desktop site and mobile app: In the “Ads” screen, you can see which advertisers have your contact information and you can control the types of ads that can be shown to you.

If protecting your data is important to you, read the privacy policies before you accept them. If you have already consented to a privacy policy before reading it, you can easily search for that privacy policy online. If there are other tech products you frequently use that have access to your personal information, considering searching for ways online to access and modify those sharing options.


[1] Brian X. Chen, Getting a Flood of G.D.P.R.-Related Privacy Policy Updates? Read Them, N.Y. Times (May 23, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/technology/personaltech/what-you-should-look-for-europe-data-law.html.


Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the Tyack Law Firm Co., L.P.A., or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel or representation on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, county, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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