|(image courtesy of Pixabay)|
The clock is ticking. I have only 2 more days to figure out how the European Union’s new GDPR policy will impact my little blog beginning May 25, 2018. I vacillate between thinking, “Don’t get your pants in a bunch” and “Get your head out of the sand!”
GDPR stands for “General Data Protection Regulation.” Its purpose is to protect the personal data of citizens in EU countries, but the regulation has a far reach. Regardless of where they are based, businesses and blogs that attract EU users must comply or face heavy fines. Up to two-million euro has been a number bounced around quite a bit causing one of my blogging friends to block readers from EU member countries and another to shut down her blog altogether.
Both of those responses seem drastic to me. I’m just a little hobby blogger, not a business. However, I do not want to be the one to test whether the EU will come after a small blog either. In a recent thread on Facebook, one blogger said she thinks the EU will be watching big companies that unscrupulously use visitor information and that the real threat - if any - will be the unscrupulous EU citizen suing the heck out of us claiming we violated his privacy by not being GDPR compliant.
My blog does not have international appeal, but I do occasionally have readers from Spain and Luxembourg. Most of my foreign visitors are from Canada, Australia, and the UK. How the recent “Brexit” affects GDPR is unclear but the UK is committed to comply. So I am too.
What makes complying fairly easy for me is that
- I do not sell anything nor make money with this blog in any way
- I do not accept advertising
- I do not sponsor give-aways
- I do not ask readers to subscribe to a newsletter
- I do not ask readers to join a mailing list
- I do not collect or store reader information from comments
- I do not write about the living except for an occasional reference to my immediate family and cousins who are not named or personally identifiable
A few issues of concern are cookies, those bits of text strings sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer. Most cookies are good. They are harmless. They make traveling through the Internet easier. However, cookies are now getting a second look as the culprits that help Big Bad Businesses and Big Bad Blogs monitor visitors’ behavior in order to manipulate them.
Just to be safe - or at least I hope so - I have removed social media buttons, Pinterest and Twitter. I also removed “Follow by Email,” a gadget provided by Feedburner and available through Blogger. Feedburner is known to be non-compliant and has not been updated in years. Unfortunately I do not know what removing the gadget will do to current subscribers.
The good news is that Google has taken care of the cookies issue for bloggers. Visitors entering Jollett Etc. from outside the United States will see this message:
I suppose clicking the “Got it” button implies acceptance of Google’s policy. The other option to “Learn More” takes the reader to an explanation of what Google does with its cookies.
As GDPR gets closer to becoming our new normal, I am remembering the big Y2K scare. Remember that? It was the “Year 2000 Bug” or “Millennium Bug” that everyone thought would wreak havoc on computers and computer networks worldwide. It had to do with a problem in the coding of dates after December 31, 1999. Would computers be able to roll over to 2000? I distinctly recall that on January 1, 2000, the world kept turning. We did not die. Very few computer failures were reported.
I hope that come Friday, GDPR will be much ado about nothing for most of us.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.