Tech Industry

Microsoft says it's extending GDPR rights to consumers worldwide

Users around the globe can take advantage of privacy rights that become law in Europe this week.

Microsoft customers beyond Europe will be covered by Microsoft's new privacy rules.
Getty Images

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it would extend the rights provided by Europe's General Data Protection Regulation to all consumers worldwide. 

The privacy rules include the right to know what data Microsoft collects on users, as well as the ability to correct that data, delete it and even take it to another service provider. While these rights comply with Europe's new law, they'll also be available to all Microsoft users.

"As an EU regulation, GDPR creates important new rights specifically for individuals in the European Union," said Julie Brill, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, in a statement. "But we believe GDPR establishes important principles that are relevant globally."

GDPR, which raises the standards and stakes of personal data privacy, goes into effect Friday. The law gives European citizens more control over their personal data, and aims to clarify rules and responsibilities for online services with European users.   

But the law won't just impact businesses and users in Europe. Any company that operates in the continent or that has European users will have to observe the stricter privacy standards and provide users with greater access to and control of their data. 

Several large online services and social media companies have been updating their privacy policies and terms of service to prepare for the legislation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a handful of questions on GDPR during his congressional testimony in April and during his meeting with the European Parliament this week, where he said the company would be fully compliant with the regulation on Friday. Google has also released an updated privacy policy that'll go into effect with GDPR.  

Despite Microsoft's extension of the privacy rules, there isn't a law to enforce them globally. No one outside the European Union will be able to file an official complaint based on GDPR, and Microsoft won't be required to pay any fines for not following the law outside the EU.