Michael K. Spencer
Apr 27, 2018 · 9 min read
Winter is coming, to Europe at least. Image: Cloud Academy

Our personal data is shared with and processed by dozens of organisations every day.

Major multi-national corporations may have up to twenty thousand data points on us as consumers already. We are being profiled by the world’s best predictive algorithms, all to monetize our data, our preferences and seek to modify our behavior for profit.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May (in Europe), will be the biggest shake-up to data privacy in 20 years.

  • The EU is implementing major new data privacy regulation next month.
  • It affects any company that processes EU citizens’ data, regardless of whether or not the company is based in the EU.
  • The GDPR has sent Silicon Valley scrambling to keep up — in particular Facebook’s privacy revisions are struggling to regain the trust of its users.

The Great Divide on Data Privacy

Most Americans if polled, would have no idea what “GDPR” stands for. In China, the concept of personal data privacy is perhaps also under developed, as Tencent leads the world in consumer data since it owns the payments portal WeChat Pay, and the most ubiquitous app in the world, WeChat.

If Facebook is the portal to connecting with the world, WeChat is the one app to rule them all.

In an age of data harvesting, the future of privacy itself in a world of algorithms, AI, Big Data and cyber-security breaches, appears to a species in extinction in the machinery of the American Web.

Claims surfaced last month that the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica used data harvested from millions of Facebook users without their consent.If one exists, there ought to be logically likely dozens more. Our data is on the loose, entire industries have popped up as a result of Facebook’s third-party app system that didn’t audit its partners.

GDPR only applies to individuals within the European Union. Thus Facebook can transfer the 1.5 billion users there and their data to American soil. In fact, that’s exactly what it plans to do.

Many firms still need to deploy security controls and implement solid incident response plans to meet the GDPR deadline in May.

Our data has never been monetized as efficiency as in 2018, and it appears the “bad actors”, are the very platforms that were supposed to “connect us with the world”, remember those days?

Twitter can be scrapped, LinkedIn Emails being a common ploy, but Facebook, those third-party apps gave away our data like no tomorrow, the damage has been done.

Yes, it has been a wake-up call for data security. However one of the ways in which Silicon Valley hacked Americans and their lives, in what amounted to a systematic desensitization of US web users to the value of their privacy online.

People are increasingly realizing that their personal data is not just valuable to them, but hugely valuable to others.

However in most cases, it’s too late, they no longer care as they are too addicted to the apps that have already modified their behavior to be smartphone addicts. In a world of legal loopholes, the EU having a conscience does not save the rest of us, unfortunately.

Non-European Facebook users will soon be held to US terms of service. Facebook is locking down their assets. Targeted advertising is still non-negotiable, although the settings give the illusion of personal control by asking what types of advertising you want to receive. Facebook’s entire monopoly is based on Ad-targeting that’s ubiquitous to the tune of $40 Bn. in revenue.

MarTech Today

Facebook puts 1.5bn users on a boat from Ireland to California.

GDPR shows just how privacy invasive American firms have become. It’s a mirror of our humanity where the American web has in many ways, made the world a less friendly and more dangerous place.

Currently, around 1.5 billion Facebook users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America are held to terms of service connected to the company’s Ireland headquarters. Not for long they won’t!

In 2018, Facebook feels a bit like the great American Firewall, and it’s under fire but its stocks and advertising remain business as usual. This shows the true extent the American establishment is behind American Big Tech.

GDPR is designed and intended to embody a data protection regime fit for the modern digital age.

I already wish I lived in Norway for many reasons, but GDPR is an example of how the European psyche protects people and cares for society better. Meanwhile in America or China, we throw our peasants under the bus every day. That’s how capitalism and New China seems to want to work.

GDPR is an Inconvenience for Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.Leah Millis / Reuters

Passed in May 2016, the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the minimum standards of the Data Protection Directive. GDPR will go into effect on May 25, 2018. On that date, organizations worldwide will encounter new, uniform data protection requirements — or face hefty fines. If Facebook doesn’t comply, it could be on the books for a fee as high as a billion dollars.

GDPR seeks to put power back in the hands of individuals by forcing those who process our data to be both more transparent about their processing activities and responsive to demands for privacy-invasive processing to be curtailed.

The Verge

GDPR is the First Attempt to Correct a Dangerous American Influence on the Web

To be honest, it’s a little too late for most of us. What individual rights to privacy capitalism and socialism took from us, the rest we do not care as much about.

The younger generation has been systematically drip fed digital dopamine to be complacent about things like data privacy.

It’s what amounts to a conspiracy theory; we’ve lived it. You might argue 35% of the planet is addicted now to their smart phones. That’s fine with the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google and Tencent.

Interestingly GDPR extends the scope of EU data protection law to all foreign companies processing data of EU residents. Tech companies are currently scrambling to get ready before May 25th, the date that will see the implementation of a major new piece of European data privacy legislation: GDPR. However, the fines they face for these multi-national corporations aren’t even that severe as usual. They will find loopholes, they will exploit the system.

Facebook protest on Capitol Hill. Getty

The General Data Protection Regulation is great in theory, but it remains to be seen if it will actually protect EU residents in practice. GDPR furnishes Europeans with a number of additional rights when it comes to their data, that’s the good news.

Facebook is liable under GDPR for fines of up to 4% of its global turnover — around $1.6bn — if it breaks the new data protection rules.

By moving the majority of its users and their data to California, Facebook skirts the responsibility of GDPR, which could cut into its profits. Of course Mark Zuckerberg is presenting it as quite the opposite.

If you are interested in privacy as a topic, this is a good time to follow #GDPR on Twitter, as with the arrival of GDPR, privacy and our personal data is certainly a topic of conversation.

It didn’t take long for Facebook to secretly exploit a loophole in huge new privacy laws — which it claims is actually in users’ best interests. (Business Insider).

It’s honestly getting a bit embarrassing living in this era. Where our human rights in the digital era are losing,where corporation have monopoly power over nascent industries that will totally dominate the future of industries in the next decade. Whom can we trust if not government and the very technology we use?

Fighting Identity Crimes

GDPR in a Nutshell

Business Insider has a pretty clear summary as follows:

  • Companies need to ask customers for their data in a clear and accessible way.
  • Those customers will have the right to demand organisations delete their data when asked.
  • They will be able to ask for information on how and why their data is being processed.
  • They will also be able to request copies of their data in a machine-readable format so they can take it elsewhere.
  • And if a company that holds their data realizes it has been breached, it must, in some circumstances, inform people within 72 hours.

I am not sure if our friend comrade Snowden would approve, but it does sound better than what we have in place now.

GDPR Signals the World’s Lack of Regulations on Privacy, Algorithms, and AI Generally

Where do human rights go in a world control by Governments and Corporate entities controlling the digital world?

It could be argued that Facebook killed journalism and all this occurred in the same spirit that Russian bans Telegram, China creates a Social Credit System, and Silicon Valley locks down the American web against users. The Free Press is certainly dying. Which is weird, since Facebook’s narrative is that Mark Zuckerberg’s tool is “connecting the world and the global community”. Which in 2018, sounds almost absurd, known what we now know. Connecting our data for profit, you mean?

As usual with how Google, Facebook and Silicon Valley treat European laws, Facebook intends to follow the spirit of the law, but not the letter. America the dishonest, America the corrupt.

Technology and policies protecting personal data will need to be built in business processes from the start, affecting mobile app design, device configuration, and network access. The truth is, we have to think differently about how we build in cyber-security and privacy data protection and embed them in our companies and products. We’ll live in an exponentially more dangerous world of cyber-security attacks in the future, this we know as national agencies have cybersecurity squads run like Military units.

GDPR is an omen and points to a much darker world where data-transparency and Big Data and 5G are all two-edged weapons of a world permeated by machine intelligence approaching an Internet of Everything mesh, the kind where we consider Google Maps, or Amazon or Tencent as public utilities. Alibaba and Tencent have in the span of just a few years, basically killed cash in China.

Reuters reports that LinkedIn is making similar changes, rerouting non-European users from terms agreements with its Ireland offices to agreements through its US-based offices instead. So who much does Silicon Valley really care about our privacy? They can’t even be bothered to adopt GDPR like standards for their global users. All businesses think alike, how to maximize profits and minimizes expenditures. The “trust of users” is not exactly high on the priority list of this equation.

We live in disturbing times. With trust in Facebook plummeting, Facebook users can hope that the social network is genuinely prioritizing their interests — but they are probably just minimizing its risk to huge financial penalties from lawmakers in Brussels.

GDPR is coming, and we’ve never had less privacy as citizens in the history of humanity.


Futurism articles bent on cultivating an awareness of exponential technologies while exploring the 4th industrial revolution.

Michael K. Spencer

Written by

Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, a prolific writer. Always writing. 🌞 DM me on Twitter for quotes: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelkspencer/



Futurism articles bent on cultivating an awareness of exponential technologies while exploring the 4th industrial revolution.

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