Websites go dark, complaints are filed within an hour, European Commission suffers an embarrassing data leak, and the US Commerce Secretary warns about the unintended trade impact of the law – all in the first week of the GDPR

The European Union’s far-reaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on 25 May amid much anticipation.  Although the date itself was seen as a watershed moment, what comes after will reveal the full impact of the law.  Even for those businesses that have declared that their GDPR compliance efforts have completed, the work of maintaining and updating their privacy and data protection framework will need to continue well after 25 May.  We have also yet to see how 28 EU member states and the Court of Justice of the European Union will interpret the law.

In the days leading up to 25 May, millions of inboxes were filled with updated privacy notices and requests for marketing consent and pop-up notices for cookies were added to websites across the globe, as many businesses contemplated if and how the new law applies to them.  Just in the first week, we are seeing glimpses of what lays ahead.  Certain American news publications decided to shut themselves off to European users on their websites, a first series of complaints were filed against US tech giants and their subsidiaries, and the European Commission, in an embarrassing turn of events, was found to have had a data leak on one of its websites,  Just five days after the law has gone into effect, Wilbur Ross, the US Commerce Secretary, published an opinion piece in the Financial Times, that warns: “EU data privacy laws are likely to create barriers to trade.” 

We take a look at the initial reactions and events that occurred in the first week following the implementation of the  GDPR, provide some insight into the GDPR’s impact on the digital economy and trade and provide, as we always do, some practical tips for how to manage privacy and cybersecurity risks in this ‘new era’.

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission published the official proposal of the revised e-Privacy Regulation, which amends the current e-Privacy Directive. Many of the alarming changes that were included in the leaked December draft of the Regulation, which we covered, have been changed, resulting in a practical set of rules that align with the wider EU data protection framework. Below, we highlight key points in the official proposal.