GDPR: Revival of the Tick-Box Culture?
GDPR is the talk-of-the-town! This strict EU law has caused quite a headache to thousands of lawyers, process designers, marketing people and IT specialists. Now, a couple of days before the official introduction date, we all see the results of their work in our Inbox: regardless when we subscribed to a mailing list, bought a product or showed interest for some service in the past, we have left digital traces which now pop up in the form of messages asking to read nicely written data protection policies and to confirm that we are happy to remain in the radar of the a given web site or company.
For now, the overall winner of the game is … the good old tick-box. This venerable symbol, invented during industrialization as people wanted to become more efficient and structured, now has its hour of glory. Considering that all Internet users interact on an average of 20 different web sites touched by GDPR, the current GDPR rollout wave results in 152 billion tick-box clicks made in less than one week - which is more than 240'000 tick-box clicks per second! Never, ever, the tick-box has been so present in our minds.
Yet, there is some good news: most of the players are now compliant and the EU may not collect as many fines as some politicians hope for.
So, is this a revival of "Tick-Box-Culture"? Yes, for companies that interpret GDPR only as necessary duty to be compliant. They miss a golden opportunity. Indeed, GDPR is a unique chance to achieve solid digital governance thanks to comprehensive control over the data of a company and its ecosystem, which in turn, is a base condition for a stable operational framework. And the latter is the "condition sine qua non" for a very precious asset: agility at corporate level, the only way to survive in a digital world.
Lawyers have done their job. Now it is up to IT and business leaders to maintain and leverage the real value of GDPR - transparent control over data and its life cycle and the opportunity to work with rather than against the consumers when it comes to privacy.