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"We value privacy and transparency, so we wanted to let you know about some changes we're making to our privacy policy."

Has your inbox been flooded with messages like this? You're not alone.

Companies are scrambling to comply with tough new European data protection rules that come into effect on May 25, and the email deluge is the most visible sign of their efforts.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any organization that holds or uses data on people inside the European Union, regardless of where is it based or conducts business.

Under the rules, businesses must obtain consent from Europeans before they store or process personal details. Data can't be held for longer than necessary, and anyone can ask a company to delete their personal information.

That's why so many organizations are blasting out emails.

Some of the messages announce changes to terms and conditions, while others warn users that they will be removed from the mailing list unless they take action.