Sound off: The dreaded GDPR emails

Even now, my frustration has failed to fatigue with every ‘review your settings’ request

The giant data harvesting companies may snigger as they tower over the four little letters. But many a great war has been won by cutting off an armies’ food source. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The giant data harvesting companies may snigger as they tower over the four little letters. But many a great war has been won by cutting off an armies’ food source. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

Not since Nama have four letters conjured up such a negative reaction in our collective consciousness. I’m sure even those involved in drafting and finalising GDPR policy have trouble suppressing their gag reflex. The real-life eyeroll emoji went into overdrive with every ping in people’s inbox. The little victory dance you did when it told you you had to do nothing, as opposed to the “grrr” that escaped when you had to fill in a questionnaire. The one where you un-sell your previously sold soul.

And even now, already late in the data protection day, my frustration has failed to fatigue with every “review your settings” request. Just let me read it. Why can’t the data hogs sell the information that I don’t want you to have my information to these companies? Repetition is only of use in poetry.

There is an upside to this “review your settings” hurdle. Now I really do think twice about whether I really want to know if people really are “all saying the same thing” about what Laura said on Love Island last night. Turns out I don’t.

Necessary evil

While GDPR may be as annoying as that person who keeps asking questions at a meeting you know would have been finished if they had shut up 20 minutes ago, it is a necessary evil. We can all love to hate it safe in the knowledge that it is giving us back some control over our data. The giant data harvesting companies may snigger as they tower over the four little letters. But many a great war has been won by cutting off an armies’ food source.

Which then makes me wonder why the need for the new trendy trend of sending off your DNA to commercial ancestry companies? Have we decided that “they” may not have access to our marketing preferences but our genetic breakdown is fair game because it makes for a good “LOL” over craft beer and a pink gin and tonic?

Michelle McBride is a primary school teacher and freelance journalist

Do you have something you’d like to Sound Off about? Email 300 words to magazine@irishtimes.com with Sound Off in the subject line

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