GDPR and the art of getting people to consent

By Yves Faguy April 3, 20183 April 2018

GDPR and the art of getting people to consent

The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), coming into force next month, is meant to enable consumers to see, limit and control how companies collect and process their personal data. There are plenty of questions out there about how effective European authorities will be in enforcing rules that have extra-territorial reach. But Richard Stallman doubts that the GDPR will help all that much for another reason:

The GDPR makes much of requiring users (in some cases) to give consent for the collection of their data, but that doesn’t do much good. System designers have become expert at manufacturing consent (to repurpose Noam Chomsky’s phrase). Most users consent to a site’s terms without reading them; a company that required users to trade their first-born child got consent from plenty of users. Then again, when a system is crucial for modern life, like buses and trains, users ignore the terms because refusal of consent is too painful to consider.

To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.

He wants our laws to go further by requiring that systems online be designed in such a way that they do not collect data.

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