Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Three big things happening tomorrow

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This is a relatively brief blog post about three big events taking place tomorrow (25th May 2018).

1. Irish referendum on the 8th amendment

Residents of the Republic of Ireland will be able to vote in a referendum on repealing the 8th amendment to the country’s constitution. The amendment (which was made following a referendum in the 1980s) protects the rights of unborn fetuses, and therefore essentially makes abortion illegal in all but the most limited of circumstances.

Repealing the 8th amendment will enable women to be able to get abortions in Ireland. Currently, it’s estimated that hundreds of women travel to mainland Britain to get abortions privately, costing them hundreds of euros in the process. And an unknown quantity of other women procure abortion pills on the internet, risking a 12 year prison sentence if found out. It’s worth mentioning that abortion is also illegal in Northern Ireland, despite it being legal in England, Wales and Scotland.

As you can probably tell, I’m in favour of repealing. However, as I’m not Irish, I can’t vote or support any of the campaigning organisations financially. I’m hopeful that the repeal will go through, but it’s expected to be tight.

2. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

No doubt you will have been swamped by emails, notifying you of updated privacy policies or asking you to re-subscribe to email lists. This all comes about because tomorrow sees the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. It’s a regulation that has been ratified by all EU member states, which, for now, includes the UK. It greatly extends the rights of EU citizens over their data, and puts a greater onus on organisations which hold data to keep it safe and make appropriate use of it.

At work, all staff have been asked to complete a mandatory e-learning module, which covers our responsibilities towards the data that we hold. I’m sure many other companies will be doing the same, and there’s been more than a few that have got it wrong. GDPR Hall of Shame shows a few, including some web sites that have simply decided to block all EU countries from accessing, either temporarily or permanently.

Personally, I’m looking forward to receiving less junk email, and being able to submit subject access requests to companies to found out what data they hold on me. Any company that holds data on an EU citizen, regardless of where the company is based, is subject to GDPR.

3. My birthday

Okay, so it’s not a major world news event, but I turn another year older tomorrow.

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