Monday, 23 April 2018

When Legal Jargon Meets a Creative Mind...

You've caught me in the midst of a frustrated tizzy. Can you feel the irritation seeping from me? Can you picture the taut vocal chords as I keep calm with clenched fists? Can you feel me fume? If you haven't guessed it already, yes that's right, I'm attempting to do something technical. God, it's hard.

Not to get all rules and regs on you, but I'm trying to make myself GDPR compliant. I know. Who do I think I am? I can't even say it without thinking of East Germany but that's just my current, flustered state. Obsolete geography aside, I've become increasingly aware of the new EU data privacy laws that are coming into force on May 25th 2018. I'm not a lawyer or a data privacy boffin. I just know that for a while now, I've been receiving emails from any website with which I've ever interacted, asking me to confirm whether I'd like to keep hearing from them after May. Bar some niche exceptions, the answer tends to be a solid NO. But that got me thinking. As Writer's Ramblings subscribers know, I tempted you with my sign-up box, happily took your personal information (in this case, your email address) and you've been the excited recipient of a Monday morning email ever since. This shit applies to me too. Oh the responsibility!

This cat is stealing your data.
Naively, I assumed the subscription service* I used would sort everything out. I mean, I'm the creative one here. I have no understanding or skills beyond typing up character traits and building dramatic tension. What use am I when it comes to understanding legal jargon and tinkering with merge tags? It's all too hard. It seems however, my subscription service of choice have taken their merry time creating GDPR compliant tools and templates for mere mortals like me. They added information on their website just over a week ago. So now I am trying to decipher techy-terminology and jargon-heavy paragraphs whilst being aware of the looming deadline. If you know what you're doing it's probably a breeze, but as I've pointed out on numerous occasions, I haven't got an igloo. The trouble is, the law is coming whether I like it or not. I don't think a defence of, 'I don't get it, so I haven't bothered' will wash. 

For people who have more of a clue than me, here's something interesting to read. I even understood bits of it. I started to follow it's instructions. Then it got all code-y, and I glazed over and made a sandwich. Or if you want something specifically from my email provider of choice, here's what they put out last week. It's definitely the most helpful thing out there so far, and I'm working through it, along with googling every term used that I don't fully understand. 

But here's the important part. I will be GDPR compliant by May 25th. That means you can specify exactly what marketing and contact you want from Writer's Ramblings. (Before the 25th May, current subscribers will be receiving an email, asking them to re-consent their permission to be on the email list.) I've already updated this blog so the subscribe box is a double opt-in style. The reality of that is a weekly email, containing a link to the latest blog post. No third parties have access to your data. As soon as you want to stop receiving these emails, click the 'Unsubscribe' button at the bottom of the email, and they'll stop.

Phew, it's all a bit of a head-frig. I'm getting my brain around it slowly, but once again, I'm battling with the thought that I wish I had been born twenty years later so I'd come out of the womb swiping and double clicking (except then I'd have missed Spandau Ballet and that would be a travesty.) But look, I'm getting distracted. The subscribe box on here is now GDPR compliant. So if you want to start receiving these posts via email every Monday morning, feel free to sign up in the box. Your data will be treated like a King. 

Have a lovely week, folks.

*I'm not trying to hide this info in the small print. It's just really dull. The subscription service I now use is Mailchimp. Initially it was Feedburner. When that became unreliable, I exported all subscribers' email addresses to Mailchimp and deleted them from Feedburner. Mailchimp store subscribers' email addresses securely in the US, and comply with a variety of laws that are all legally above board until May 25th 2018. They explain it better below, which is taken from this document, should you want further details. 

After May 25th, Mailchimp accounts (and everyone else dealing within or with people in the EU) need to be GPDR compliant, and by doing so, will continue to operate inside the law. 

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