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Why we should all be excited about GDPR

Taking the digital world by storm, ‘GDPR’ is the buzzword on every reputable company’s lips – and as we approach the final quarter of 2023.

With circa 75% of all data predicted to be rendered obsolete, the ICO’s upcoming changes to current data protection regulations is the biggest news to hit our industry in over 20 years; and as a result, our generation of modern professionals are fighting to ensure they achieve compliance – or at least dodge monetary penalties.

But in the rush to avoid being hit by the significantly increased fines of up to £17 million, or 4% of our turnover for the previous year, are we forgetting about the bigger picture of GDPR?

The ICO’s UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, stated that in attempting to safeguard ourselves from any negative repercussions, “we risk losing sight of what this new law is about – greater transparency, enhanced rights for citizens and increased accountability.”

Created to eradicate data duplicity, and give consumers more control, we must have confidence that after 4 years of EU parliamentary planning and debate, the ICO might actually know what they’re talking about.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

Basically, unless you’re covering something up, you should be preparing for May 2023 with a smile on your face.

Why panic, unless you have something to hide?

In a world driven by change, humans are renowned for our ability to adapt. We’ve mastered fire, we’ve conquered air travel, and we’re making huge progress with Artificial Intelligence. So, the question I really want to ask is what on earth are we all panicking about now? If your number one priority truly is the customer, surely that implies that you genuinely have everybody else’s best interests at heart? You’re probably already most-way GDPR compliant anyway!

And if that’s the case, why aren’t we all rejoicing about the changes?

Databowl’s CEO, Simon Delaney, stated that “There will be casualties of GDPR, because essentially it all boils down to who really wants to create mutually beneficial, above-board relationships, and who just wants to benefit themselves.”

Ultimately, it’s all about transparency.

So, allow us to be above board and glaringly honest. At Databowl, we’re excited for GDPR – partially because we have zero problems ensuring our compliance is top notch, but mainly because we can actually help you (and ourselves), by providing a mutually beneficial solution to enable you to ensure that you are GDPR compliant. Forever.

I know…you’re probably sceptical. You’ve heard it all before… marketing automation doesn’t fix your compliance. But it goes a long way towards it – we promise.

Introducing our new ‘GDPR check me’ button

By making use of our ‘GDPR check me’ button, you can:

Add mandatory content to your landing pages, such as channel opt-ins, T&C’s and Privacy Links

Hold suppression files of individuals who have opted out, preventing future contact

Upload your creative and written assets so all data sources can use compliant info

Capture compulsory fields of all data coming in to the system – such as source and opt-in date/time

Set notifications so you can regularly check opt-ins on the places the data is being collected

Ensuring maximum security, the ICO suggests that you designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organization’s structure.

Working in tandem with the system, you can invite people you designate in your organisation to your Databowl instance. This means the right people have the right tools to carry out the role more effectively – with much less hassle.

So, separating the good and the bad, and bringing the integrity-driven companies to the fore, the new GDPR gives us all an opportunity to step up our game. With automation software helping to make this more simple and effective, May 2023 is going to bring about the right to be forgotten, or the opportunity to shine.

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No Company Is Perfect, But Did Apple Stop Trying To Be?

About a week ago, Apple did something not entirely unprecedented yet rare enough to make big waves across the tech world. Without warning and seemingly off-the-cuff, they backtracked on the AirPod release date, postponing indefinitely a product they had massively built up themselves in September.

It is by no means the first time Apple is somewhat behind schedule in rolling out a product (take the Mac Pro, the iMac Retina 27”, or watchOS 2 in 2023), but it is for the first time pertaining to the product accounting for Apple’s biggest following and largest share of revenue: the iPhone.

While this might help explain the sheer scope of reactions to the announcement this time around, one cannot help but wonder if an increasingly unfavourable public perception of Apple’s standards also plays into the response. To be clear: in a world where billion dollar companies ship spontaneously combusting devices it’s a hiccup that must not be dramatised. With that said, Apple have once again given ammunition to critics who like to point at an expanding trail of imperfections. Could Apple be slacking off?

In view of the (badly communicated) AirPod situation, it’s a question Apple must be willing to stomach without taking offence. Regardless of their response, which without a shadow of a doubt would be a resounding rebuttal, it is astounding to observe how Apple needlessly set themselves up for failure in this instance.

Notwithstanding the fact that it looks at least a little unwise to release the first flagship iPhone embracing wireless audio and its designated wireless AirPods months apart, the pathos (#courage) and determination put on display when a late October arrival was promised to the public really seemed to jinx it from the off.

Does setting yourself a deadline for an obviously unfinished product mean slacking off? Of course not – if anything it means the opposite. But what do we find on the other end of the scale? Imprudence for one, possibly paired with overzealousness, two nouns we were not used to associate with the Cupertino-based company until recently.

Taking a step back from the self-inflicted AirPod situation, it is not too much of a challenge to recount other incidents where Apple appeared to throw their ‘it’s not done until it ships’ mantra under the bus.

People are quick to pick at the first generation Apple Watch in this context, however I would not call that a very strong case. It has become quite evident in the software department though and Apple’s sudden willingness to roll out beta functions on devices running final version software: iCloud Photo Library in iOS 8, Apple Music Beta on Android, chúng tôi the new Portrait camera mode on iOS10 just to give you a few examples.

For us users, some of these introductions definitely hit the ground running, while others did not. What matters is that Apple clearly started feeling the heat of the market and at some point made the decision to provide quicker access to certain innovations, even if it comes at the cost of a conceivably unpolished product. This is a conscious decision driven by eagerness if you are the glass-half-full kind of person, haste if it’s glass-half-empty for you. In that sense the motivations described above are pretty similar to the AirPod scenario.

In other words, is Apple guilty of sacrificing their vehemence and focus on the little things for the prospect of for example competing in the high-margin car business? Did Apple really believe they could nab a piece of the upscale jewellery market with their original $17,000 Apple Watch Edition?

This seems uncoordinated at best and while it is well within the company’s rights to experiment, throwing ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks is a method kind of running counter to the ideals of the company that used to think different.

The AirPod example is also reminiscent of the 2013 Mac Pro mishap, when early customers were promised shipping by December but eventually Apple had to back paddle on that too. Disgruntled customers aside, this went down on the back of the now famous ‘can’t innovate my ass’ line by Phil Schiller, a sentence that accurately sums up the gist of the previous paragraphs: almost inexplicably (considering their financial prowess), Apple can act like they are on the back-foot, as though they have to prove that they are still on top of their game.

Not only on top actually, but also blazingly fast at it. Unfortunately, a cocktail of the two is bound to have them run into recurring trouble and upset customers along the way. Just like with the AirPods.

What matters at the end of the day is not necessarily if you believe Apple is overambitious or complacent. What matters more is that it has been a while since Apple released an absolute prestige product which exceeded everyone’s expectations. The new MacBook with Touch Bar could be a good start, but it is early days. What matters the most is for Apple to keep its word on the dates no one but themselves decide to put out to the public.

If I sound a little salty on this topic, it could be because I am – and that’s Apple’s biggest failure. The importance of strong customer relations is part and parcel of the marketing 101 and Apple need to do a better job at adhering to it by not messing with the customers’ expectations.

If you have something in the pipeline but do not want to be quoted on a release date, guess what – that’s fine too. However do refrain from imposing an unreasonable timeframe onto your project and if you just cannot resist, at least do not communicate it with the public.

This is not stick for refraining from putting out an unfinished product, it’s merely a note on intelligent customer communication. In that regard the Apple of late is slacking off, but the good news it’s nothing they cannot recover from.

Cookies Are Going Away, But Internet Tracking May Still Be Here To Stay

Whenever you do anything on the internet, you’re being tracked. As a recent segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver explains, there is a lot of money to be made from widespread data harvesting. It can be used to sell products, target potential voters, and even just scam people. 

Over the last few years, however, consumer opinions have shifted against this kind of targeting. In the wake of scandals like Cambridge Analytica (although it didn’t actually use cookies), society has broadly started to recognize both how invasive this kind of tracking is—and how it can be used to discriminate and reinforce prejudices. In a 2023 report from Pew Research Center, 79 percent of Americans were reportedly concerned about how much data companies were collecting about them, and 81 percent of Americans felt the potential risks of data collection outweighed the potential benefits. 

Apple was the first major consumer tech company to position itself as privacy-first. Its Safari browser has blocked some third-party cookies since 2023 and all third-party cookies since 2023. In 2023, it also introduced a feature where apps would have to ask for explicit permission from users to track them. (Facebook parent company Meta has claimed this last update alone will cost Facebook $10 billion in lost revenue this year).

[Related: DuckDuckGo’s new Mac browser aims to put privacy first]

Firefox has also blocked some third-party cookies since 2023, and unveiled Total Cookie Protection in 2023 which consigns each site’s cookies to its own separate “cookie jar,” which bars information from being shared with other websites. There has also been a rise in privacy browsers, like those from DuckDuckGo and Brave, that take an even more aggressive stance on blocking tracking. Both use their own custom search engines as well as other privacy focused features like easy data deletion to limit how much data can be gleaned from your browsing activities. 

Even Google is getting in on the action. It will start blocking third-party cookies in its Chrome browser (the most popular browser in the world) in 2023—although that is about a year later than was initially planned. 

For all this, internet tracking isn’t going away. The methods are just going to change. For example, Google announced that it is replacing cookies with a new feature called “Topics.” And, as an article in The New York Times speculates, the current fixes might serve entrenched interests best, rather than consumers or smaller businesses. With third-party tracking curtailed, it might be harder to track users as they move around different apps and services, but not if they stay within the same ecosystem. If you’re logged into your Google account in Google Chrome, using Google to search the internet, and watching videos on YouTube, Google doesn’t need cookies to track you—it has plenty of data already linked to your account. Similarly, while Apple largely blocks third-parties from gathering data about its users, it still has access to a spectacular amount of information. Meta’s Facebook and Instagram won’t be able to track what you look at on Amazon, but they still have a record of who you follow and interact with. The big tech companies, it seems, will be in the strongest position going forward. 

All this is still up in the air, though. Internet tracking is in a transitional phase. The European Union is levying increasingly large fines for breaches of its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, which might start to skew the risk calculus for some companies. Efforts are also underway to block these new forms of tracking—both DuckDuckGo and Brave have just announced that their browsers will bypass Google’s AMP pages, one of the ways that Google has leveraged its size to further track users. Internet tracking is definitely going to continue but, fingers-crossed, it might get better. 

What Is Gdpr? Everything You Need To Know About The Eu Privacy Law

It’s a year and a half since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enforced in the European Union. The main goal of the regulation was to give individuals greater privacy, clarity and control over how their data is used by online businesses, organizations and third parties. Under GDPR, companies must now give much more information on how they use and retain individuals’ data – whether it’s on websites, employment contracts, or online forms.

In this article we discuss exactly what GDPR is, what it means to the regular person, and the ways in which it’s been implemented since its enforcement last year.

What Is GDPR?

The idea of GDPR is to make EU laws relating to online privacy and data protection better-suited to the complexities of the online era. Many of the biggest online businesses rely on the steady stream of personal data we give away every day we’re on the Internet – from our cookies to Google searches to details that we enter into online surveys or other forms.

The big business of the internet is pretty much fueled by our data, and the idea of GDPR is to give us some more clarity and control over how it’s used, as well as force companies to be more responsible over what data they procure from us and how they use it.

This sounds good, but what exactly does it mean? Here are the key points concerning GDPR:

An individual’s, or “data subject’s,” personal data can only be processed if one of several “lawful purposes” are met. These include the individual giving their consent to process data, performing tasks in the public interest, protecting the vital interests of other individuals, or several other such “purposes.”

Subjects need to give their consent for data processing (hence, all those GDPR notices that started appearing on websites everywhere).

GDPR monitors companies, demanding that “appropriate technical and organizational measures” are taken to minimize risk of data abuse or breach.

Data security incidents that pose a threat to the “rights and freedoms” of data subjects must be reported to higher authorities within 72 hours.

Data collected from subjects gets anonymized for privacy protection.

The “right to be forgotten” allows users the ability to request that their data be erased from a database entirely. The user also has the right to ask the website to no longer process their data if they do not want it erased entirely. If a company has shared a user’s data with other parties, they all need to be notified about any erasures, corrections, or restrictions. The user must have the right for all their data processing to be halted from all parties

Data-handlers, made up of “controllers” (people and bodies who “determine the purposes and means of processing personal data”) and “processors” (people or bodies that process data on the controller’s behalf), are accountable for data being mishandled and can be fined if they’re found not to comply with the GDPR data-handling regulations.

All of these rights come with complementary obligations enforced on companies, and they could face severe consequences if they do not comply. The amount of detail put into this piece of legislation makes it perhaps one of the largest digital data privacy protection laws in the world.

What Effects Is GDPR Having?

The EU has not been messing around in enforcing GDPR and cracking down on companies that it believes to have fallen afoul of its regulations. The most high-profile GDPR case currently involves WhatsApp and the Irish Data Protection Commission, which has raised concerns over whether WhatsApp sufficiently informs its users about how it processes their data.

Right now the draft decision on the fine WhatsApp is expected to pay has been pushed back to 2023 after WhatsApp’s lawyers had a procedural complaint accepted.

In November 2023, the UK’s data protection agency issued warnings to ad tech companies over the processing of sensitive data and the contracts used to share data between vendors.

In November, Microsoft amended the privacy policies on its cloud contracts after an investigation from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) raised concerns that its contracts and its role as a data processor for EU institutions wasn’t compliant with GDPR.


As you can see, the GDPR has caused a lot of privacy-related conflict between online businesses and the European Union. While companies are showing a willingness to abide by the GDPR’s stipulations, it’s clear that many of them have a long way to go before they’re fully compliant, and we’re likely to see the fines and warnings coming in thick and fast as companies are forced to adapt to the dramatically overhauled laws surrounding online privacy in the EU.

Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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When Is Apple Going To Pay Facetime The Attention It Deserves?

The other day I overheard a woman at the coffee shop spiritedly conversing on FaceTime with what I can only presume was her mother. The topic of discussion had been the daughter’s holiday trip, and her mom said something that struck a chord with me: why can’t you show me the photos on here? This got me thinking (at which point I stopped listening in, promised). Since its inception, FaceTime has received dreadfully little attention from Apple. The introduction of FaceTime Audio aside, the service practically makes for an absolute freeze-up in an otherwise constantly forward moving software environment.

As consumers, we have become used to companies spending more resources and time on pet projects of theirs and conversely less on comparably idle services, but what is astonishing is that this analogy does not explain the ongoing neglect of FaceTime. Because for all its faults and plainness, FaceTime is tremendously popular. For reasons only known to the Cupertino giant however, it does barely show in the application’s development. To add insult to injury, the lackluster state is likely to persist for yet another year until the next big software update for iOS rolls in. Never mind the fact this means forever in industry years, but it’s even worse because FaceTime is already adrift of the competition.

With that said, it is time for Apple to start play catch-up and resuscitate the service. Since the coffee shop encounter, I have been mulling over how Apple could ramp up the offering realistically in the near future. Here is what I believe is feasible and crucial for FaceTime to implement within the next year:

In fact, tradition dictates that between March and June (iOS 8.4 and Apple Music or iOS 9.3 and Night Shift), a point three or point four update is going to drop, bringing along all sorts of new goodies for our devices. So let’s size up these two potential updates in 2023 and place emphasis on what they ought to deliver in order to make FaceTime a more immersive and customizable experience.

iOS 10.4

Video quality is a non-issue to some, but for people either living with poor Wi-Fi or FaceTiming on data plans, it is a big deal. Many video streaming services offer a little lever to adjust the video output quality, ranging from ‘Best Available’ (which is what FaceTime does) to higher Mb/s and lower Kb/s rates. As a frequent user of FaceTime, I would appreciate a setting like that on my screen, as I can recall countless scenarios where I refrained from video calling a friend or relative on the road simply because it eats up your data so fast. If I could throttle the data artificially by restraining the streaming quality, that would be pretty exciting. I would also imagine that in many instances selecting a lower streaming rate would actually smoothen a stuttering but otherwise crisp video call.

This one is quite divisive but with iOS 10, Apple has gone all in on iMessage gimmicks (like it or not) – so why stop now? Particularly for the younger segments of users, one or two buttons to trigger on-screen effects during the video chat (think Facebook’s or Periscope’s live video stickers) would certainly make the product a whole lot more enticing. I’m not completely put off by colorful hearts or other icons swamping the screen and it would be a complementary outlet to also express yourself non-verbally.

Handoff and Continuity are great concepts, no question about it, but they do not live up to their promise in places where it’s needed most. When I take a FaceTime call on the way home on my iPhone and walk into the apartment, where is my option to transfer the call to my couch iPad? You would think the feature was already in place considering how Handoff has been showered with praise by Apple – but it is not.

iOS 11

Now, anyone can dream up far-fetched fantasies for an upgrade that is still such a long way off. What’s more important than that is to marry the fancy with the needful, and what Apple needs to do urgently is address the blatant shortcomings and clear competitive gap between FaceTime and the likes of Skype or Google Hangouts. Thusly, the two most significant (and reasonable) changes I would like to see materialize with iOS 11 are group video chat functionality and the ability to display photos stored locally on your device inside the chat.

There’s a reason the lion’s share of businesses use Skype. And that is for the simple but compelling fact that the application is superior in facilitating and handling multiple callers in one session. FaceTime is painfully late to the party (they haven’t even shown up, to run with the metaphor) and many of us have clamored for group chat functionality long before iOS 10, 9 or even 8 was unveiled. If not finally realized in iOS 11, Apple have seriously gotten their priorities wrong on this one.

To round off the coffee shop anecdote, being able to show your chat partner photos from your device would be such an intuitive way to enrich a conversation. And it makes perfect sense. FaceTime is a visual medium, its entire backbone is the notion that people like to receive visual stimuli when we talk. In other words, when I call my parents to catch up on their recent Hawaii holiday, isn’t it terribly counterintuitive that they have to send photos for viewing through an external app such as iMessage? The service would enormously benefit from an on-screen button that links to your photo library, from where any photo touched would be mirrored (= sent temporarily) to the receiver’s device.

And just like that we have come to the end of my list. Some of these items I would call predictions, some of them wishes. What’s certain is that the year ahead will show if Apple are sensitive to their users with regard to FaceTime and willing to appreciably up the ante. They certainly need to act soon if they don’t want to irreversibly lose more users and businesses to the competition.

Have anything to add to my list? Comment below!

Why Does Your Company Need To Use Analytics For Higher Organizational Success?

Understanding the importance of workforce analytics powering Business Growth.

Imagine, you are head of a department in your company. It is obvious that the department has other members too of various talents and capabilities. So how would you assign them job roles and responsibilities that match with their talents and abilities? How do you identify the problem areas, monitor employee performance, handle operations, find out the best performing individuals and overachievers? What methods would you use to connect with your peers? What are the steps you shall take to ensure employee retention and job satisfaction? How would you know if the deadlines are met? What are the brand objectives? How can the company show that it cares for its employees, especially during COVID-19 pandemic times? How will you deal and manage all these things? The good news is that analytics can be now be used to manage people. This fits perfectly with companies that consider their employees as their best resource even when they are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies. Workforce analytics can help leaders and authorities to make informed data-based decisions at a quicker pace than relying on mere intuitions. If the pandemic has highlighted anything, it is how important are employees’ healthcare both physically and mentally, along with an emphasis on their safety and engagement. This has proved an opportunity for the HR managers to showcase that they are concerned about the well-being of the employees and take measures to ensure continuity of business activities. This is important for the companies, too, as a healthy employee who can communicate effectively with his peers, subordinates, and superiors can contribute to business success in the long run. Surprisingly, people believe that workforce analytics can be performed only if the data amassed is perfect. Also, many organizations focus on data instead of the problem source in business. Leaders must realize that the data they require has a higher likelihood to be present already. They must prioritize identifying the problem points and brand objectives before hiring an expert, i.e., data analyst and data scientist , to deal with the issues or design a model that does. For this, leaders need to connect with the strategy teams too. Apart from that, they can conduct surveys (large organization) or group meetings (small scale organizations) periodically to discover the potential areas of improvement. Besides, they can use dashboards to visualize the data insights and monitor data quality regularly. It is also equally vital to note the participation rates as it could signal overload if participation decreases. The aforementioned things are needed to maintain engagement by understanding employee needs and satisfaction levels, even in the COVID-19 lockdown periods. Workforce analytics will also help in determining and fixing compensation rates for employees who are over-performing but have not yet been acknowledged. It can be used to establish performance benchmarks for the employees, and track the same to measure their future potential so that support can be provided. In case, training and skill gaps are found, training sessions can be organized. At the same time, high-performing employees can be mapped as per the requirements and performance specifications of other roles in order to facilitate succession planning. Analytics can further help to scan for future organizational needs so that recruitment will satisfy talent requirements. In addition, it is also resourceful in locating areas where efficiency can be improved with automation, which can boost employee satisfaction too. In gist, workforce analytics goes a long way as an instrumental tool that can lead a company to better organizational success, stakeholder and employee management, and retention with the ability to empower a leader to make an informed decision that benefits everyone.

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