You’re gonna be hearing about this
Loyal readers of The Legal Genealogist, you’re going to get really tired of hearing about the GDPR this week.
Just about every website you use, every list you’ve ever signed up for (including a whole bunch you’ve probably long forgotten) and every service you’ve ever used that has a web presence is going to be sending you one of those “We’ve Updated Our Privacy Rules” emails and asking you to do things because of the GDPR.
And The Legal Genealogist, as a web information provider, is no exception.
All I can say — if it helps at all — is you should know that you’re not nearly as tired of hearing about the GDPR as folks like The Legal Genealogist are of trying to figure out how to deal with it.
But we’re all stuck in this together so… here goes, with a bit of Q&A.
Q. First of all, what is this thing called GDPR anyway?
A. It’s a data protection and privacy rule of the European Union called the General Data Protection Regulation. Developed over a period of years, published in 2016, and due to take effect on May 25, it’s designed to protect the interests and privacy of citizens of the European Union (EU) particularly with respect to data collected and stored by organizations, groups, and websites.
Q. And what exactly does that have to do with a blog published in the United States?
A. Two things: (a) this blog, like many others, has readers who aren’t in the United States; and (b) seriously, the internet doesn’t stop at national borders.
Q. Can’t you just make an exception for those flatland furriners?
A. Nope. The biggest reason for me personally is I like my flatland furriner readers — and want to keep them. And then there’s that little matter that none of us are quite sure how the enforcement of this rule is going to work, and we’re not willing to chance it.
Q. Why aren’t you sure how it’ll be enforced?
A. Because it’s brand-new — it takes effect Friday, May 25 — and it’s really complex. It has 99 different articles in 11 chapters, and then 173 recitals explaining those articles.
Q. But you’re just one genealogist who writes a blog for free, not some big commercial website! The EU won’t come after you, will it?
A. I have no idea — and as I said, I’m not willing to chance it.
Q. Why not?
A. I don’t happen to have a spare 10 million Euro ($11,765,610, at yesterday’s rates). The fines for violating the GDPR are pretty steep.
Q. So what does the GDPR mean for readers of blogs?
A. It means, first and foremost, that you have rights with respect to personally-identifiable information that might be gathered by this website. You have the right to say: (1) you don’t want your information collected, and to withdraw any consent you gave in the past; (2) you want to know what information the website has about you; (3) you want some or all of the information changed or updated; (4) you want any portable information transferred to someone else; and/or (5) you want your information deleted.
Q. So what does the GDPR mean for bloggers like you?
A. I wish I knew completely — but at a minimum, it means I need to be sure you know your rights and that you’re okay with my having some information about you in some ways.
Q. Where will I see this?
Q. What?? There’s more????
A. Yep. Sigh…
Tune in tomorrow…