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Why the sudden flood of notifications you know you should probably read, but will instead immediately delete? Slate was the first to call it: You're not getting these emails because of Facebook's data crisis following the Cambridge Analytica scandal; you're getting them because of a new EU law going into effect today, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.
Unlike the U.S., Europe is taking a stricter stance on how companies collect and use data. The new regulations, which were first ratified in April 2016 (giving companies two years to work on the updates you just received in your inbox), give European citizens greater say in how their personal data — such as name and address — is used online. One of the biggest implications of the new rules relates to a scenario like Cambridge Analytica: Companies will need to notify users about data breaches within three days of the breach occurring.
According to CNET, certain companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are extending their new data rights to U.S. citizens, too, although they aren't enforced by the law. Still, that doesn't mean the emails you're getting are useless if you're not a European citizen. I'll spare you the "you should read these emails" rant (yes, you should probably skim them to make sure there aren't any insane rules hiding in plain sight), and go with something more practical: All the messages you're receiving are a good reminder of the services you haven't used in years and should delete your account with or unsubscribe from.
In my case, this list includes Skyscanner, Splitwise, Hitlist, and Houzz. For others in the Refinery29 offices, these lists include Tidal, Quora, Hostelworld, and others that are part of the I-signed-up-for-this-so-I-could-enter-that-vacation-giveaway club. Oh, and the members of the, I-wanted-the-free-trial club.
If you don't plan to read the update, at least take a moment — or, depending on how many emails you got, a few minutes — to hit unsubscribe. Your inbox will thank you later.