Friday, May 25, 2018

Beef Of The Week #405: About your privacy | UNLIMITED | CMU


Hey, so I have a great beef for you this week. It’s pretty earth-shattering. Honestly, the roof is about to get blown off this thing. And then it’s going to turn out that the building on which that roof sat was actually inside another building, and that first roof is going to blow off another even bigger roof and loads of bits of roof are all going to come crashing down on the floor and smash into smaller bits, which will all scatter far and wide into many different facets of whatever this was supposed to be a metaphor for.

But first I need to talk to you about your privacy. As you will no doubt be aware, there’s some new EU regulations coming into force today that aim to harmonise data protection rules across Europe. And, in part, to reduce the number of unwanted emails making their way into your inbox. It stands to be the most successful piece of regulation ever implemented by the political institution, in that now people have stopped sending you endless emails informing you that the new rules are coming into force, you will definitely have fewer unwanted emails in your inbox.

Like everyone in the world, I don’t really know what these new regulations – aka GDPR – actually mean or what I should do about them. But I’ve heard something about there being a 20 million euro fine if I don’t do something about it right now. So like everyone else, I’m going to hedge my bets and just let you know that GDPR is a thing, and then say some stuff about GDPR, and how I’m complying with GDPR, and then link you off to some more stuff about GDPR, before getting back to what I normally do.

What I normally do – in this capacity – is inform you about the biggest music-based dispute of the week. And it’s a big one this week. So big. That roof thing I said about before? Imagine that, but bigger. Though hold all thoughts of big roofs just for know, because – remember – I still need to inform you about what I’ve done to fully comply with this new GDPR thing.

As a simple weekly article delivered as part of a bigger email bulletin and then posted on a website, the Beef Of The Week column in itself holds no actual data on any of its readers. To be honest, I quite often wonder if anyone actually reads this thing at all. Do email me to let me know if you do, won’t you? Though please remember to send me seven emails asking for my consent to do so first.

You know, thinking about it, I reckon roughly 30% of the emails I’ve received asking for my consent to carry on emailing me now that GDPR is in effect have been from people I’ve never had any previous contact with whatsoever.

Are people using this as a clever ruse to get me to sign up to their mailing list for the first time? Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s the same as all those emails we journalists get from PRs telling us that they are leaving their current agency but have loved working with us all these years, even though that’s the first time we’ve ever even heard of them.

Anyway, if any sneaky people were trying to get me to “re-confirm” my desire to receive emails I wasn’t hitherto signed up for, it hasn’t worked. I haven’t opened any of these emails. In fact, I’ve been gleefully deleting them as soon as they arrive. I’m looking forward to opening my inbox on Monday morning and having no new emails at all.

That said, a small number of the emails I currently receive are actually useful. I mean, as a journalist it’s my job to moan about PRs and press releases, but – you know – sometimes those PRs are sending me useful information that might inform a news story. Maybe even a future beef of the week. Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t have been quite so gleeful in automatically deleting all those GDPR messages in my inbox.

Tell you what, ignore my past email deleting, I hereby consent to continue receiving all unsolicited bulk emails, press releases and corporate messaging. Except all and any press statements relating to ‘ethical’ streaming services, Maroon 5, or your amazing new start-up that’s going to revolutionise music distribution/direct-to-fan relationships/ticketing/playing the flute/farting with the fucking blockchain.

Anyway, this week’s beef. I should get onto that. I’m really excited to tell you about it, because it’s such a good one. Oh, but hang on, I’ve given my consent for all you guys to carry on emailing me, but I haven’t got your consent to tell you about this week’s Beef Of The Week.

You’ve read this far, I suppose. Could that be implied consent? You opted into the CMU Daily at some point, but did you know that that would mean being on receiving end of a weekly dose of beefing? Does the fact that even now you are still reading this nonsense count as “legitimate interest”? Who knows? Basically no one, right?

I mean, for every email I’ve ignored asking me to re-confirm my interest in receiving future bumf from PRs, media and other corporate entities, I’ve had three more telling me everything’s going to carry on as normal despite the arrival of GDPR.

It seems like an unintended consequence of this whole thing is that some companies will delete thousands of names off the mailing lists that they rely on. Meanwhile, their competitors – who consulted different lawyers and/or ‘what the fuck do I need to know about GDPR’ blog posts – have not done likewise.

All in all, you can’t help thinking that all the last minute panic about the implications of GDPR may seem like a bit of a joke in future hindsight. It’s the Y2K bug for millennials. And a useful reminder for all us British Remoaners that the EU, while brilliant in many ways, can be a right bellend sometimes.

Maybe that’s the silver lining here. Post-Brexit we won’t have to worry about shit like this any more. Can we get rid of those irritating cookie consent notifications too? Suddenly I’m becoming a champion Be-leaver. And anyway, when the UK economy crashes into the ground once Brexit is complete, privacy will be the last thing we’re all worrying about. There won’t be much privacy when we’re all living on the streets. And no cookies either.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off on quite a big tangent here and now I’ve run out of time to tell you about this amazing beef I’ve uncovered. Tell you what, I’ll email you next week. Okay?


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