Use a Google app or product? Brexit could change your GDPR rights

OK, the letters “GDPR” will probably spark confusion here. If you’ve had any involvement in it at work, you’ll probably have a cold sweat right now. However, for everyone else it’s a really good thing.

Set out by the EU, it stands for “General Data Protection Regulation” and – no matter where your company is based – if you have EU citizen data stored, you need to comply with it.

It’s good because you get a greater level of control over your data. You also get more transparency throughout the data collection and use process. It brings the law in line with the digital age we live in.

For those running websites, apps or anything grabbing personal data – it’s crystal clear. You must obtain consent for collecting data, you must report within 72 hours if there’s been a breach, customers must be able to access their data, they must be able to request deletion of that data and the whole process must be secure.

Put simply, the EU GDPR law is a fantastic thing.

Trouble is, if you’re using YouTube or any other Google product, that protection is about to go in the bin.

Why? Well, it’s the gift that keeps on giving – Brexit. Already this weekend we’re supposed to be “celebrating” blue British passports (made in Poland by a French firm, in a lovely blue and gold shade – just like the EU flag), but also news that the Google Terms of Service for UK users is changing.

Services will now be provided by a non-EU country (America) and, although Google tell us that it won’t “affect the way we treat your information”, it does throw into question about that “right to be forgotten” or whether you’ll be able to request what data Google has stored about you.

Of course, Google and the UK government are already telling people that “nothing will change”, but it’s unclear whether the UK will continue to follow the world’s most aggressive data protection laws.

This all comes in the same week that the US firm is handed £7 million by the NHS to help identify “expensive” patients and the environment secretary refused a ban on chlorine-washed chicken from being imported from the USA.