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Ken Lozier Ken Lozier
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The Marketing Edge - The GDPR, your website and you

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If you have been reading tech news recently, you may have heard about the GDPR - the General Data Protection Regulation which was enacted on May 25, 2018 in the European Union (EU).  It affects websites which collect any sort of personal data on its visitors who reside in the EU. For example, if your site is collecting data through an analytics program or with cookies, there’s a chance that a member of an EU country could visit your site and have their data saved. Compliance with GDPR is especially important to anyone who’s directly doing business with residents of the EU, like ecommerce or tourism.

But don’t worry - while it’s important to be compliant, it’s also not an impossible request.

In a nutshell, GDPR says that EU visitors have to expressly opt-in to giving you their data and that you have to be able to access and remove that data at the visitor’s request. Examples of personal data include a user’s name, physical or email address, phone number, IP address and more. If you can use a piece of data to identify an EU resident or combine it with other data to identify them - that’s personal data.

Compliant sites must have privacy policies with simple and easy to read terms and conditions; assure that user data will not be sold to a third party; and it must be as easy for a user to remove their data as it is to give it. EU residents also have the right to access, erase, and correct errors in their personal data, object to processing of their data and ask an organization to export their data to the place of the user’s choosing. You are legally obligated to comply with the request or else face a fine.

We at Sutherland Weston would like to recommend that any business with a website update its privacy policy so it covers the GDPR requirements and disclosures about data collection and use. Online forms and newsletter sign-ups should include a checkbox (that is not pre-checked) that allows users to opt-in to your storing their information and/or using it for marketing purposes. You’ll want a documented inventory of data that you track and keep on visitors and a procedure for furnishing a copy of the data and/or erasing the data upon request.

As you might expect, many templates for GDPR privacy policies and checklists to help you are just a quick internet search away. It may also be a good time to talk with your website provider about how GDPR may affect you. In the end, being GDPR compliant will let all your visitors know that you’re as concerned about their online privacy as they are - and that’s good business!

(Ken Lozier is the Production Director for Sutherland Weston.)

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