Privacy Policy Updated…and Would You Take a Cookie?

Ahead of the GDPR, a European regulation designed to protect everyone’s data, I’ve updated this site’s privacy policy: Here’s why you should care.

I’ve completed a revision to this site’s Privacy Policy ahead of the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation. You should now notice a privacy policy notification at the bottom of the screen until you click the “Accept” button.

You’ve surely heard a lot about that particular regulation, though you’ve more likely heard of it by its initials, GDPR.

Beginning on May 24, the law becomes enforceable, and even though it’s a European law, it affects websites and blogs that originate outside of Europe that are available to people who live in the European Union.

The fine for not complying is so outrageously large that you’d be a fool not to make changes to make sure you’re in compliance, but the trick for bloggers is that there’s not a great deal of information that definitively explains what they have to do.

So what does this GDPR mean?

I attended a meetup of Charleston-area bloggers last week and Heather Solos, the powerhouse behind Home Ec 101, gave a short talk on it.

GDPR designates WordPress users as “data controllers,” she said. Data controllers use “data processors” like Google Analytics, FeedBlitz or MailChimp.

Data processors often collect data on their users, and data controllers has to disclose what that information is.

Some of the information is personally-identifiable, like names, email addresses and social security numbers. Other pieces of data, like IP addresses, may not identify a specific person. (We know that because sometimes, in blocking the IP address of a troll, you block people in a small area instead.)

The main point of GDPR is to make it clear to users what you are and aren’t collecting.

Since I don’t sell a product, I’m not collecting payment information or birthdates or anything like that.

When you leave a comment, you’re leaving your name and email address and your IP address is automatically recorded. All of that is explained in the privacy policy.

This site also leaves a cookie (or cookies) on your computer.

Take my cookies, please.

Here’s where I’m going to ask you to do me a favor: click the “Accept” button and let’s get on with our lives.

By clicking accept, you’re allowing me to use two kinds of cookies. The first is “strictly necessary” variety. These are cookies that remember, among other things, your previous acceptance of the cookies and your previous login when you left a comment before. If you don’t accept that kind of cookie, you’ll see that privacy policy notification every time, and you’ll have to leave your info every time you comment.

The second kind is third-party cookies. They’re from sites like Google Analytics that help me track who’s using this site. I don’t see what you personally click, but I can see what gets clicked and through demographic data, the type of people clicking the site.

It also helps with Google AdSense, which runs adds on this site. (Hey, I don’t ask for donations! Ads help — and only barely — cover the cost of hosting a site like this.)

So please consider clicking the orange “Accept” button. If you want to know more, check out the Privacy Policy.

If you have questions, leave me a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer it as if I know what I’m talking about!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.