I’ve written about the about the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) several times over the last few years. It makes sweeping changes in the way global companies have to protect consumers’ personal, financial and medical information. It goes into effect today so U.S. companies are scrambling to comply.

Why? Because one of the most significant changes is that the GDPR applies to U.S. based companied that meet the various outlined criteria. Why is this so important? Because these U.S. companies are now updating their privacy policies to try and meet the GDPR’s requirements — so the privacy updates will also apply to individuals in the U.S.

The good news is that this potentially means stronger protections for individuals in the U.S. who engage with these companies and/or their websites. The slightly bad news? It makes it even more essential that individuals read the new privacy policies that they are receiving via email or even hard copy.