***BLOGGERS, PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION***
I came across a problem today, trying to leave a comment on the site of one of my favourite bloggers. It seems she has tried to comply with the new rules on Data Protection, and storing information. I had to ‘create an account, username, and password’ for her site, and then attempt to ‘accept the terms and conditions’ associated with leaving a comment. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and she is now struggling to find out how to add a check box to allow readers to accept the responsibility of following and commenting.
This is something that will affect all of us in the blogging community, and could signal the end of ‘easy’ blogging as we know it. She sent me some links, and I respectfully suggest that we should all immediately find out more about what this means to us. Accelerated by the issues surrounding Facebook, and Cambridge Analytica, new laws are coming into force about Data Storage and Protecting Privacy. Laws from 2016 will now be enforced, as from May 25th this year.
What is GDPR?
In 2016, the European Commission approved a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In short, GDPR states that if a website collects or stores data related to an EU citizen, you must comply with the following:
Tell the user who you are, why you collect the data, and how long it will be stored.
Get clear consent before collecting any data
Let users access/delete their data
Let users know if data breaches occur
What is the definition of “personal data”?
Under GDPR, personal data is any information relating to an “identifiable person”. Identifiable information includes such things as a name, ID number, location, ethnicity or political standing. Data doesn’t have to be confidential or sensitive to qualify as “personal”.
When looking at most normal blogs, personal data will include:
Blog post comments data (name, email, IP)
Traffic stats plugins/tools such as Google Analytics
3rd party hosted services such as Jetpack, Bloglovin’ and Disqus
Email signup forms such as Mailchimp or FeedBurner
Issues relating to the location of your web host. E.g. data is transferred to servers outside the EU
As you can see, even the most humble and non-commercial blogs will be affected, as the information provided by following a blog, or leaving a comment, is considered to be ‘Personal Data’. This is going to potentially cause all of us to have to do a lot of research, and to have disclaimers and login procedures related to our blogs. In a lot of cases, it will just be no longer worth the effort of being a blogger. If our blog is hacked, we will be responsible for advising everyone about such a ‘breach’, and the possible disclosure of ‘personal information’.
OK, I am not panicking yet. I am hoping that WordPress will come up with something generic, that we can use as an ‘umbrella’. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend that you do some research on GDPR, especially if you are in Europe. If any of you know more about this than I do, then please feel free to let us know, and correct any points derived from my lack of understanding.
My thanks to Olga Nunez Miret, for bringing this to my attention.
Her blog can be found here. http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/
More information can be found on these links.