'Data Protection or Data Frustration? Individual Perceptions and Attitudes Towards the GDPR' by Joanna Strycharz, Jef Ausloos and Natali Helberger in (2020) 6(3) European Data Protection Law Review 407-421 comments
Strengthening individual rights, enhancing control over one’s data and raising awareness were among the main aims the European Commission set for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In order to assess whether these aims have been met, research into individual perceptions, awareness, and understanding of the Regulation is necessary. This study thus examines individual reactions to the GDPR in order to provide insights into user agency in relation to the Regulation. More specifically, it discusses empirical data (survey with N = 1288) on individual knowledge of, reactions to, and rights exercised under the GDPR in the Netherlands. The results show high awareness of the GDPR and knowledge of individual rights. At the same time, the Dutch show substantial reactance to the Regulation and doubt the effectiveness of their individual rights. These findings point to several issues obstructing the GDPR’s effectiveness, and constitute useful signposts for policy-makers and enforcement agencies to prioritise their strategies in achieving the original aims of the Regulation.