New data privacy laws around the world are going to affect North American business more than ever, and savvy executives are taking note. In a globalized economy that is more co-dependent with each passing business cycle, companies cannot afford to ignore any regulation based solely on the geographic location of its inception.
The European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are set to limit a number of actions that businesses normally take when addressing prospects. The most important of these is the “right to be forgotten,” or the right of the prospect to request that a business delete all information. EU countries face additional limitations, but the right to be forgotten will affect companies around the world doing business with EU countries.
If your outreach relies on email blasts that are not opt in, you should change your strategy immediately. You should also create measures to prove that you have deleted records from customers who have requested to be forgotten. It is much easier to accommodate this request that deal with the huge penalties that could become a part of your life very quickly if you ignore it.
North American Copycat Lawmakers
Lawmakers in North America are watching the new regulations from the EU closely. Experts have stated that the EU regulations took inspiration from Canadian law. You can bet that the international data community, which is becoming a larger political bloc by the year, will put pressure on North American lawmakers to protect their interests should the EU laws turn out to be successful.
Enforcement Across Borders
North American businesses have a legitimate question concerning data privacy regulations from the EU – how can they punish me even if I get out of compliance? Great question, and the answer is exactly why EU regulations apply to you in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Data protection agencies reach across country lines in the European Union. They also reach across continental lines. For example – as an America business person, if you purposefully eschew the laws just passed in the EU, you will likely be facing American regulators, not EU regulators. If your company has customers across borders, you will find your business thwarted until you pay the massive fines levied by the new regulations. If you do not, you will still have US regulators in your inbox and mailbox, because they must protect the precedent being set for the international business community.
If you are located in North America and you thought that data privacy issues around the world weren’t your problem, think again. Non-compliance may cost you the ability to expand your business into emerging markets and established populations across seas, and that will definitely not sell well at the next board meeting.
As a business in the US (or anywhere else), do not ignore the regulations that are being passed in the EU and the ones that have been passed in Canada (the Canada Anti-Spam Law). You may not think that international law can reach you. Nothing is further from the truth.