You might have noticed that your inbox is suddenly being bombarded by messages from apps and services you haven't used in years.
You're not alone, that's my Gmail inbox above.
There's a reason you're receiving them now: Europe's General Data Protection Regulation went into effect Friday, which means companies and services are now alerting you to how they meet the new privacy guidelines.
The GDPR guidelines are long and complicated, but the gist is that the protections give you more control over the data companies store on you and how the information can be used. In advance of the new rules, you've been getting flooded with emails explaining updates that comply with GDPR.
Companies that offer apps and services in Europe — every firm from Spotify to Google — have to update their guidelines and even the core structure of their apps so that they're meeting these new privacy rules. Users in the United States and other parts of the world will begin to benefit, at least if companies are making changes to a single app that's used everywhere.
The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office has all of the information you need on GDPR, but it centers around the protection of personal data. The GDPR considers personal data to include:
Lots of companies are beginning to allow you to download personal copies of the data they've collected on you or that you've stored. Google, Apple and Facebook have already let users do this, though they're making it even easier. That's because the GDPR includes personal protections such as:
A major focus of GDPR is that companies will not be able to use vague or confusing statements to get you to agree to give them data, which means it could have a far-reaching impact on some of the biggest technology firms in the world including Facebook and Google. (Read CNBC's guide to GDPR's business impact here.)