Why Should You Care About Privacy Policies, Cookie Policies and/or Full Disclosure Policies?

Last Update:  5/29/18

While my post today may not be about a mainstream quilting topic, it is a topic that a few quilters have been discussing lately.  And, I think is actually worthy of more attention and discussion within our creative communities.

Before I share my insights on this topic, I want to recognize and thank Jocelyn (Happy Cottage Quilter) for raising this topic with me and getting me to give it more serious thought and research.

In all honesty, my initial thoughts about the new EU GDPR data protection regulation which went into effect on 25th of May, was that it doesn’t apply to me because:

  • I don’t live in the EU
  • I’m a blogger and I don’t sell anything
  • There is no way the EU can enforce this WW.
  • I also value privacy and have absolutely no intent of selling, or any form of mis-use of personal information from those that may share their info with me.

But then I began to do more research and contemplate what the intent of these new regulations are.  Basically, the new EU GDPR, Cookie Regulations, etc., are intended to  ensure people that visit your website, regardless of  whether you are selling something or not, when they share with you private info (e.g. email info, Name, IP address, etc.) that you do the right thing and keep that information confidential.

Throughout the world, there are various laws and regulations about data privacy.  Possibly this topic has raised a higher level of interest, with Facebook’s focus on making money on our personal info and being challenged for their privacy policies.  But, I suspect the EU became concerned with data privacy protection of your personal info long before Facebook.  They took great lengths to create laws and regulations, which may  be focused on protecting those in the EU, when you look at the intent, I can only wish that we had a world wide agency that would manage these type of issues.  But today, I want to discuss the GDPR’s new laws and regulations and what they mean for those in the quilting, sewing, embroidery world (regardless if you are in the business, a blogger, or someone that simply shops online and/or follows blogs).

Situation:

GDPR: On 25th of May 2018, a new European Union (EU) data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), takes effect.  The GDPR gives individuals in the EU more control over how their data is used and places certain obligations on businesses that process inormation of those individuals.

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The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect May 25th, 2018.  The odds are high that you’ve received email notices, from various online businesses, possibly even blogs (or even directly from WordPress, Blogger, MailChimp, etc.) notifying you of changes to their privacy policy.   Many of us have received so many notices about changes to Privacy Policies, that we may be overlooking why we need to care?

The internet is changing and hopefully in a good way.  Historically, there have been businesses that always asked if you wanted their cookie (not the chocolate chip kind but the kind where they dropped a cookie on your computer to track some personal information about you.  It was nice that they gave you a choice, but most of us will agree that most sites never cared.  Well, recently the EU came up with a requirement that made EU companies change their policies and approach and with the recent issues with Facebook, many more companies are now jumping on the bandwagon to create Privacy and Cookie policies about how they use your personal information.

In the true form, the GDPR requires an “opt in” policy, which is why you are probably starting to notice many websites are now asking you to click to read and approve their policies, if not you may by default be dropped from access (e.g. dropped from an email list, access to their site, etc.).  When we step back and think about this topic, I think most would agree that online businesses WW really need to adopt this policy, whereby they agree to keep our personal information confidential and not mis-use it.  But then the question comes up – Do bloggers need to be concerned about GDPR ?  To answer this, let’s step back and ask outselves “what data does a blogger typically capture”?

At a minimum, bloggers that allow email/rss feeds of their posts use tools to capture your name, email address and probably your IP address.  We give that info freely,  without being reassured they keep such information private.

Bloggers can also use Analytic tools, belong to various Affiliate or Advertisement networks that capture your personal information!

Ultimately, my conclusion is that those in the business, with an online site, regardless of being in the EU, should simply do the “right thing” and adhere to the GDPR regulations “the best way that they can”, without going too far to the extreme side.  Simply do the right thing and guarantee to your customers that you will not mis-use their personal information and you’ll keep what info they share with you private.  Be sure you have a Privacy Policy on your site.

For bloggers, the odds are you too capture personal information and I think it would be great if we could all do the “right thing” and adhere to the GDPR regulations, to the best we can.  And even having a simple privacy policy visible on your site could help to reassure your followers that their personal information will be kept confidential.

When you adopt such policies you are also sending a message world wide that you value privacy of your data, as well as data of others you are entrusted with.  Hopefully the more of us that show such support will help encourage owners of more websites (e.g. businesses, bloggers, etc) to do the right thing too!.  Together we can help to start a trend to help increase the safety of the internet.

What am I doing ?  My first pass of the Privacy Policy & Full Disclosure Policies is now public on my blog and easily accessible via tabs under my blog header:  https://quiltshopgal2.wordpress.com/policies-and-disclosures/

For those interested in learning more, as well as seeing what others are doing (while trying to not present those that may not be doing anything, or not have done anything yet), I want to share some insights that Jocelyn shared with me which I think can also be quite informative:

.

Sites with GDPR Policies which I found interesting:

 

Sites which quilting, sewing & embroidery enthusiasts may visit, and/or such bloggers use, but do not appear to specifically address GDPR:

  • Rafflecopter
  • Craftsy
  • Facebook:  Has a statement for how GDPR effects advertising on Facebook, but no reference on GDPR with respect to Facebook users.
  • Instagram: Doesn’t appear to have a policy specifically for GDPR, but does have a general privacy policy (just not the opt in approach for GDPR
  • ShareASale
  • Sewing Machines Plus
  • Bloglovin’

In addition to the EU GDPR, there are also several other similar initiatives around the world: intiatives by the EDAA (EU), the Network Advertising Initiative (US) and the Digital Advertising Alliance (US), DAAC (Canada), DDAI (Japan) or other similar services. Such initiatives allow Users to select their tracking preferences for most of the advertising tools.

California Privacy Rights

California Civil Code Section 1798.83 permits users of the Services who are California residents to request certain information regarding its disclosure of Personal Data to third parties for their direct marketing purposes. To make such a request, please send an email with “California Privacy Rights” in the heading to help@skillshare.com or write us at the address listed below.

 

Bottom line:  For bloggers and even many small home based businesses (for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts) I really don’t think you need to worry about the EU GDPR, nor all the concerns about Privacy or Cookie Policies.  On the other hand, I do value confidentiality  of personal information and I hope you do too!  Thus, I want to encourage all bloggers, as well as those in the business, to maintain such personal information with confidentiality, as well as to update your websites by sharing your perspectives (your policies).  I anticipate this topic to continue to grow in popularity in the future, as well as policies to evolve.  Hopefully we can all do the right thing and not worry about being a silly blogger, or home based business, or even a small business in the world of quilting, sewing or embroidery, that some law or regulation like the EU’s GDPR, one day trying to fine us.  I honestly feel this is more of a matter that we all need to do the right thing – honor confidentialty of personal information which we may be entrusted with, ensure our values and policies are stated on our website, as well as encourage those truly in the business to do so too!

 

As always, I’d love to hear your perspective on this topic.  It is not a black & white issue that will be resolved on the 25th of May, 2018.  There will always be bad websites out there that will take our personal information and misused it.  But hopefully, this will become a movement that will help us improve internet security of our personal information world wide.

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5 thoughts on “Why Should You Care About Privacy Policies, Cookie Policies and/or Full Disclosure Policies?

  1. I first thought it would not apply to those of us who earn no money from our blogs, but as you said it does apply to us. I see you have a top-level page dedicated to Policies and Disclosures. I have had Privacy Policy top-level pages on my blogs for many years. ‘Hoping mine are updated correctly. Noticing in “blog land” that many still have no such pages…

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  2. Great information!!!! and a fabulous write up!!! Thank YOU! For my personal blog…. I don’t have a policy… because… other than posting to it… mostly just photos… now. I don’t use it…. For the store… I will have to reconfigure the message to comply with the EU… requirements. And I am giving it some thought… and you have given me more food for thought.

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    1. I do think it is the right thing to do, more so those with a business. But, the good news is I really don’t see a reason to be in a rush. I quickly put my policies out there, but I know I’lll go back and make changes, especially after I think thru the wording more.

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