You cannot hide from the EU’s GDPR! Nice try Zeke, but not good enough! But we live in America, and not in the EU. Shocker: It doesn’t matter! Then I will just close the top! If you connect with a EU member, then he is protected by the rules, and regardless of being based in America, you are required to follow them. There are stiff penalties for non-compliance, and yes, the EU can come after you in the USA for their euros! Or should I say, YOUR euros!
What is it? Before I go on let me say it would take a team of specialized lawyers to figure out what it is about by the way it is written. Since I am not one of those, or even close, I can not vouch for the accuracy of what I write today. Maybe my European friends may be able to shed some light on this. Anyway, the point of it is to give individuals control over their data on the internet, and the right to know who is using it, what for, and the right to have it all removed, i.e. the right to privacy. Sounds good in theory. But I am running a low traffic cat blog on WordPress, so what do I care?
I will get to that reason why I care in a moment. I noticed some of my German blogger friends talking about the GDPR and changing their blogs. One lady quit blogging altogether “with tears in her eyes” she said, I paraphrase. Another turned her blog “Private”. Others turned off their “likes” and “comments”. Others also removed all gadgets and widgets with links to other people, like “Blogs I follow” , or ‘Posts I like’ , leaving a clean, bare bones looking blog theme. This is what got me interested into digging into this.
Once again, what is the problem with my low traffic “American” hobby blog? The big problem is requiring email addresses to make comments on WordPress. Collecting email addresses leads to being able to identify the person commenting. I am talking here only about the email addresses of EU commenters and not Americans. I don’t know where these email addresses go or are stored? Or what WordPress does with them. It is a privacy thing I can see. Here is another big problem. What if your European follower comes to you and says he wants all his public comments removed from your blog? It is his right under the GDPR. What if he says, he also wants all his “Likes” removed from your blog? You must comply according to the GDPR. Imagine trying to find them all and delete them! This is the reason some of my German friends have closed comments and disabled likes. That is the easy way to comply. The fun of interaction between bloggers is destroyed by doing this.
Additionally, a large disclaimer is required on your blog as well. Just as an exercise, I have copied some data from various places and put it on my “Disclaimer” page just to give you an idea. Some is broken English. It is far from comprehensive. Maybe a “Europeans Prohibited” sign?!
Help is on the way for WordPressers. Their tech and legal wizards will very shortly be coming out with “something” new for us to put on our blogs to help us with compliance, but I don’t see how everything could be addressed. It better come out fast, because we got less than two weeks to become compliant. I will mention it as soon as I see it.
Like I said at the beginning, I may be wrong. I hope I am, but I think I am not too far off the mark.