In the data maze or a hype of Beethovian scale

Beethoven Fifth final
No notes, no music. © Charles Thibo

Tadadadaaa – the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is effective as of now! Can you feel it? Does it make a difference? No, it doesn’t. It reminds me of the question: “So how does it feel to turn 40?” Well, the world did not stop turning back then, did it? And it didn’t tonight. All this excitement in the blogosphere over the past weeks – I wonder whether we are not taking all this a little too serious.

There were data regulations in the past, laws protecting the right to privacy etc. Did anyone of us really, really care? No. Did anything bad happen? No. I haven’t read about any blogger being jailed on a privacy issue because of a picture or a comment involving a third-party, at least not in a democratic state. I do see however bloggers so worried that they take their site offline and limit their right to express themselves, to be creative out of fear to make a mistake. I. Don’t. Do. That. I am not afraid. Not afraid to make a mistake for that matter. And I am pretty sure that the EU did not want to put limits to the freedom of speech in order to protect people’s privacy. That would make no sense.

A policy delivered on time

The debate has sharpened my awareness about the functions of this blog though. I found a few widgets collecting data about you, my visitors, and since I saw no purpose in that, I got rid of the widgets. I killed “Share”-buttons with a tracking function and replaced them with buttons not tracking anyone or anything. I drafted and revised three times a document enumerating what function does collect which data and why it does exactly that on this site.

I did not read the 88 or so pages of the GDPR. I found however useful guidance on the GDPR’s broad principles on the website of the European Union and the website of Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection. Your country certainly has come up with something similar. I also found a no-nonsense, easy to understand GDPR blogger’s guide that mirrors my approach. I implemented the broad principles of the GDPR on this site using common sense and, as a result, I would like to invite you to read the final version of the privacy policy that governs the data processing behind this site. Needless to say that this site collects very few data and most, if not all, are submitted by you, the visitors, on an entirely voluntary basis.

A symphony never delivered

Tadadadaaa – the most famous opening motive of any piece of music ever written, except for “God save the Queen”, but that is an entirely different (British) matter. The opening of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. Legend has it that Beethoven commented the motive with the following words: “Fate knocking at your door.” However the source, one Anton Schindler, is known to have spread fake news in his writings about Beethoven, so I wouldn’t really trust it. The composer himself however knew very well that those two bars and their multiple variations appearing throughout the symphony give the piece an unparalleled rhythmic density that is largely responsible for its overall grandiose impact upon the audience.

Beethoven wrote the symphony in 1807 upon a commission by a Silesian count, Franz von Oppersdorff, who had also commissioned Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B flat major. Beethoven however needed money at the time and sold the score to another nobleman. Von Oppersdorff got No. 4 instead. For the price of two. After its premiere. Needless to say that the count was not happy. Where was that compliance officer when he could have made a difference?

If the first movement is excellent to remind us of the fact that laws must be obeyed, the second – andante con moto – invites us to take a step back and look upon our data protection issue with a little serenity and assess whether this is really worth having sleepless nights. It is not quite fate knocking on our door, for we bloggers are far too unimportant, and initial non-compliance or partial compliance only does not mean instant death. The third and fourth movement – both allegro – should encourage us to look forward without being overwhelmed by exaggerated fear or prudence. Beethoven was fearless in composition and fearless in his dealings with the nobility. Be without fear! Live! Create!

And now: Music. Courtesy of the West-Eastern Diwan Orchestra. Enjoy.

© Charles Thibo

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de Chareli

Writer, photographer, piano student, music enthusiast. And a lot more. You are welcome to follow my blog.

2 thoughts on “In the data maze or a hype of Beethovian scale”

  1. I can laugh about this now. Well, maybe not laugh yet, but smile. As you know only too well, some us had a couple of weeks of overwhelming stress, frustration and utter despair over this GDPR stuff. The problem is (and I am guilty of that) ignorance is fear. If you don’t understand the very narrative of a topic, and you’re told that not complying with this topic’s rules can get you into trouble, then fear kicks in. The fear of powerlessness.

    And, as some would say, you gained a substantial amount of good deed credit yesterday!

    1. I am glad your blog is still up and running. All of us who dealt with GDPR compliance over the past weeks learnt a few useful things about ourselves and the IT world. That should be of some consolation. 🙂

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