Noticed a large number of emails announcing “Updated Privacy Policy” from services and websites you use online? Think its as a result of the recent publicity around Facebook – think again, it’s all thanks to Europe.

That’s right, Europe. There’s a new EU law about to come into place on May 25th this year and given most companies would need to give 30 days notice of any changes to their Terms of Service or Policies, that’s why all these emails are coming now!

It’s called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR for short. It was passed into law two years ago, and companies have had those two years to get ready and transition any systems to cope with it.

If you’re keen on the legal stuff, read up on GDRP, but the really interesting thing is where it is enacted – which companies are making changes globally as a result.

What it means in short is that any company collecting or using data about people online and operating in Europe, must implement strict new processes that allow users to obtain, and essentially take control of that data. But it isn’t a law that applies to companies that are headquartered in Europe, or data that is stored in Europe, it applies to any company with users in Europe – that’s a big deal.

However, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said they will not implement these stricter privacy policies globally – just in Europe – a massive missed opportunity given the strife they’ve been in of late.

Bottom line, that’s why everyone is updating their policies. Settled.