Letter from the Editor GDPR

zeke editor in chief

ZEKE EDITOR IN CHIEF

Zeke here.  I am in the back-room of the Feline Cafe sorting through lots of papers, and I have some thoughts to share with you on GDPR.

GDPR

First off, some people are in a panic over this GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) from the EU.  Others never heard of it!  Don’t panic.  They are in force TODAY!  The law covers the entire world!  Not just the EU, but the entire world!  Any foreign site a EU member clicks on is bound by the the data collection and disclosure rules backed up by stiff monetary fines–so the EU says.  You get fined if you don’t comply.  Sounds like a great money making scheme to me.  How many millions of websites are there in the world?  The idea the day after implementation they are coming after you, hobby blogger, is unrealistic. If you sell things, you have a little more to worry about.  If you have a WordPress blog, here is a link to the May 14 WordPress Blog GDPR update that tells what WordPress has done and is doing.  See:

WordPress Blog GDPR updates

I see WordPress.org blogs and paid business WordPress.com blogs have new plugins for you to install.  They say the free WordPress.com blogs like mine are going to get taken care of as well.  The blog says it will happen in the next few Weeks. A “new cookies and consent banner” is now in widgets.

I found another long but somewhat readable post about the GDPR, what it means, and suggestions what to do at the following location:

What the heck is the GDPR and how to make sure your blog is compliant

Some people are under the notion that making your blog “Private” so only invited subscribers can visit will solve the problem.  That would only be true if you excluded EU members from your blog.  Simply allowing members to comment on your private blog collects their data and makes you bound by the rules.  As far as the “Likes” are concerned, the likes are a difficult and complicated subject to address.  There are lots of “spammy” likers who just “like” me and hope I will click on their “like” and visit their spammy website.  I decided to turn “Likes” off. Are the EU privacy police going to come knocking on my door or yours over “Likes”?  Not like-ly!

Comments of course collect name, URL, and email addresses.  A consent button to collect this data for the commenter is coming out for this.

Next week we will find something new to panic over!

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You Cannot Hide from the EU’s GDPR

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.

Zeke in box

You cannot hide from the GDPR