The UK's data watchdog is launching a campaign to help people understand how they can take back control of their personal information as Europe-wide data protection rules come into effect today.
The General Data Protection Regulation comes into force across the European Union today, giving consumers a swathe of new rights and companies a list of new responsibilities.
As part of this, the Information Commissioner's Office has launched a "long-term" campaign called Your Data Matters to increase the public's trust and confidence in how their data is used and made available.
It has also opened a public register for businesses and other organisations to sign to pledge their support for their customers or service user’s data rights, with those that do so gaining the right to use ICO-branded banners in their communications material.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, said: "Almost everything we do - keeping in touch with friends on social media, shopping online, exercising, driving, and even watching television - leaves a digital trail of personal data.
"We know that sharing our data safely and efficiently can make our lives easier, but that digital trail is valuable. It’s important that it stays safe and is only used in ways that people would expect and can control."
GDPR introduces a number of regulations which will affect financial advisers, including the right to erasure, meaning an individual can request the deletion of personal data relating to them, and the right to access, meaning an individual can demand information on how their data is being used and a free copy of their personal data.
It also introduces the right to data portability, which means a person must be able to transfer their personal data from one system to another without being prevented by the handler of their data.
Meanwhile explicit consent must be obtained for the collection of data and all the purposes it is used for, while all data breaches must be reported within 72 hours.
Vĕra Jourová, the European commissioner for justice, eonsumers and gender equality, said: "Personal data is the gold of the 21st century. And we leave our data basically at every step we take, especially in the digital world. When it comes to personal data today, people are naked in an aquarium.
"Data protection is a fundamental right in the EU. The new rules will put the Europeans back in control of their data. Now we have a choice and can decide what happens and who has what sort of data.
"Companies that have been making money from our data, have more responsibilities. They should also give something back to the consumers; at least the security of their data. Companies, which do not process data as their core business activity, have less obligations and mainly have to make sure that the data they process are secure and used legally."