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EU GDPR: not so sweet concept of freely given consent

Article by Mindaugas Civilka and Minvydas Balčiūnas 

Consent is arguably among the most direct grounds to collect and process one’s personal data. EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines consent as “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement”.

Free will

The compatibility of one’s consent with the inherently “free will” is represented by cohesion of external forms of personal behaviour with the mental will-forming factors (goals, fears, other motives). Sometimes this connection is feeble, especially when the person does not care much about the value of his personal information, or in other cases he does care about privacy, but has no other choice but to give-away his personal information (e.g. if it is the only way to receive some sort of service).

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