It looks like the country has taken GDPR to heart as the Information Commissioner’s Office can’t cope with all the reports. Currently the ICO Nuisance calls and message reporting is unavailable after GDPR kicked in on Friday.
GDPR has been remarkably ineffective to date with the main effect being just about every reputable company who has you on their mailing list sending you an email begging you to resubscribe. Most consumers have laughed at the minor inconvenience and taken it as an opportunity to unsubscribe, freeing up their email for more important matters.
Scammers and disreputable companies are still scammers and disreputable companies and GDPR hasn’t changed their normal methods of operation. They’re still sending spam and, especially for those working outside the EU, are largely untouchable. Just this morning I received a spam text message from a company that never answers their phone telling me I’ve subscribed to a £4.50 per month Secret Sales Codes service. Erm… no I haven’t and the company which hides behind a raft of anonymous website registrations has broken GDPR and will likely get away with it, or at least they will until the ICO gets their act together and their website is operational again.
We shouldn’t despair of GDPR though, the reality is that regulation email marketing (and total ineffectiveness against spammers) isn’t what GDPR is about. Whilst it’s a small part of the regulation, GDPR is all about giving consumers control over who has their data and how companies can use that data. It’s intended to give privacy back to individuals, give them the right to be forgotten and have their data deleted and for companies to be even more responsible in their use of data then they were in the pre-GDPR age.
It’s too early to say whether GDPR will be a success or a dismal failure. We suspect that as much of the regulation was already encompassed in the Data Protection Act and other legislation that most decent companies more or less complied bar a few tweaks. The full weight of the GDPR will only be felt for the most flagrant breaches of our personal data and that largely, once the dust settles, most consumers won’t notice the difference.
In the mean time, if you want make use of the ICO’s nuisance calls and message reporting you’ll have to join the queue.