Tuesday, May 29, 2018

CONVERSATIONS - What Are You Talking About - The GDPR, Don't Be Scared!

The GDPR, Don't Be Scared!

CONVERSATIONS is a catch-all discussion type post. It will also encompass my reviews because they are always free form and conversational. My intent is to not have more than three posts a week. This feature will normally be posting on Mondays (reviews) or Fridays (discussions). This is a discussion topic that would normally post on a Friday, but I felt it shouldn't wait to be presented
 In my wanderings around the book blogosphere I sometimes read things that make me crazy; not only on other blogs, but also on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. What Are You Talking About? will be my place to vent about these things

No, really, don't be scared.

Over the last two or three weeks I have seen too many US bloggers freaking out about getting privacy policies in place because of the European Union's GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION laws which went into effect on May 25th. At first I was just sitting back and waiting for everyone to calm down as information about what US bloggers' actual legal responsibilities were began filtering down, but then I started seeing people saying they were going to quit blogging because they were afraid their policies weren't legally compliant; based on the smorgasbord of how-to blog posts popping up, and they couldn't afford a lawyer. In my opinion, the how-to bloggers were basically just as confused as their readers.


I decided to do this post because when I went to read the GDPR blogging information post by a blogger whom I have always trusted to have solid suggestions for blogging problems, I saw a lot of the same misinformation being imparted.


Now, all of the other how-to blogging posts had legal advice disclaimers on them, and I suppose I should do the same, although I'm not telling you what to do like they were, I'm just letting you know why I wasn't panicking about the GDPR and a privacy policy as a US blogger. However, yeah, please don't take this as legal advice, but please do follow the links and read the first hand information yourself before experiencing anxiety about being compliant, or considering quitting blogging because you are afraid of getting fined or sued.

Why did I not think US bloggers needed privacy policies specific to their own blogs, and therefore was not wigging out myself? Because it didn't make sense. We bloggers don't store the data; our blogging and commenting platforms store the data, and their privacy policy tells visitors that they share it with us as bloggers using their platform for things like anylitics, or IP numbers for blocking people. In fact, the US has had similar regulations in place before this, and you have been compliant through your blogging and commenting platforms all this time without any worries. That's why that other banner about cookies and analytics used to pop-up on Blogger periodically. When you sign up to comment with WordPress and/or Disqus, subscribe to a newsletter through MailChimp, and similar, you give permission for them to store and use your info. They in turn tell you how they use it which includes telling you the information they share with bloggers who use their services and for what purposes.

UPDATEHERE is a clearer assessment of the rules. If you read it basically says for us little guys consent is implied because we aren't making anyone give us information to read our blog. These rules are meant for the server owners.

The first thing I did when people started talking about this was ask my friend who is an IT guy about it. He has worked on company and corporate security and the firewall side of things, too. He told me not to worry because the "storage" definition was server based and unless I owned my own server I was compliant through the policies of the companies I use for blogging: Google, Disquis, Rafflecopter, Youtube,  etc... Then I found a UK blogger who actually went into the regulation articles and read them: HERE, which supported what my friend told me. The pivotal phrase in all of this being "economic enterprise". Here's an example:

If you sell handmade cat toys through Etsy and the buyer is giving their information to Etsy, Etsy informs the buyer that the only information they give you is name and address for shipping purposes. If you don't use that info for anything else you are covered by Etsy's policy.
If you sell your handmade items on your blog and people are giving their information directly to you, you need a separate privacy policy telling buyers what you do with their personal information.

Another thing bloggers were worried about was newsletters, but you are protected by your mass emailing provider. The one time reset of subscriptions is in case their clients have used lead magnets in the past, from this point on you have no worries as long as you don't third party those email address.

So unless you are selling or sharing information given to you by Blogger, WordPress, Raffecopter, Disqus, MailChimp, etc; to a third party for personal gains you are covered by your platforms' policies. At least that is my take on it and why I'm not stressing as a US blogger. Just make sure all of your platforms and plug-in providers are on the ball. You might have a different opinion, and that's fine, just promise me you won't quit blogging. Relax, as long as you are not using the information given to you by your platform providers for anything else than is stated in their policy you are doing fine.

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