Brussels — New European privacy regulations that go into effect on Friday will force companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data, while bringing consumers both new ways to control their data and tougher enforcement of existing privacy rights. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the bloc’s patchwork of rules dating back to 1995 and heralds an era where breaking privacy laws can attract fines of up to 4% of global revenue or €20m, whichever is higher, as opposed to a few hundred thousand euros. Many privacy advocates around the world have hailed the new law as a model for personal data protection in the internet era and called on other countries to follow the European model. Critics, though, say the new rules are overly burdensome, especially for small businesses, while advertisers and publishers worry it will make it harder for them to find customers. The GDPR clarifies and strengthens existing individual privacy rights, such as the right to ...

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