May 25 will be the day of reckoning for many businesses in the media and marketing industries. It’s the date Europe’s highly anticipated General Data Protection Regulation kicks in, from which point no business operating in Europe can use data without explicit permission from users to do so. The maximum penalty for noncompliance: fines to the tune of €20 million ($24 million) or 4 percent of annual sales.
The GDPR is a slow-moving wrecking ball, after a two-year incubation period that served mostly to heighten confusion over what the regulation means and how to get out of its way. In 2018, the hand-wringing and chatter will give way to action, with a period of intense pain, while companies come to grips with a post-GDPR world. For all the talk of revolution, the GDPR will end up a blip for most rather than a world made new. But that will be after the new regulation causes its share of confusion.
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