What GDPR means for our readers
You might have noticed a flood of emails lately and website popups asking you to consent to new privacy policies. That’s because a major new European privacy regulation, GDPR, goes into effect today.
Fines are up to 20 million Euros or 4 percent of total annual global revenues — whichever is higher. That’s really waking people up.
GDPR applies to every company that has European users or customers — no matter where it is located.
Here are Hypergrid Business, I’ve been checking to see whether we’re in compliance, and I actually had to make some changes.
We don’t have a newsletter, or do any other collection of user information, so we’re all set there. I double checked that all the old info has been deleted — and it has.
We do have Google Analytics and Google AdSense set up, but they track general trends — we don’t see any information on individual users. Google does have an option to serve up targeted ads, where they personalize them for individual visitors. We have just turned that off (instructions here, in case you want to do that for your website, as well). The ads you might see on this site are customized to fit our website and content, not personalized around your browsing history or whatever other information Google has collected about you.
The reason we have Google AdSense set up is to cover some of the costs of hosting the website and paying freelancers. (It doesn’t cover all the costs, just a portion.) This way, we can offer free ads to OpenSim grids in the sidebar.
We also use Disqus for our comment system. We only see information that you voluntarily share with Disqus. You do not have to provide Disqus with any of your information, and if you have provided information to them in the past you can see what they have and you can ask Disqus to delete it here. Read more about Disqus privacy policies here. And we don’t save this information, so we won’t use it to create marketing campaigns or sell to outside parties.
We used to have a grid, but we don’t do that anymore, so there are no privacy issues there.
We also do surveys. We don’t share any contact information provided as part of Google’s surveys, and delete all of the information, keeping just the anonymized data, after the survey results are published. If you want to be sure that your name or email address isn’t saved anywhere in the documents I have, you can email me at [email protected] and I can do a global search of our cloud and local storage.
As journalists, David and I do keep a Rolodex of sources who we contact for stories. We don’t share that with anyone, or use it for any marketing purposes. If someone asks to contact one of our sources, we’ll forward their requests, but won’t give out the contact information directly unless the sources have previously said it’s okay to do that. For example, some developers say its okay for us to give out their contact info for readers who are looking for development help.
What about if there’s a negative article about you? There is a concept of the “right to be forgotten” where a defamatory or otherwise problematic article is still online, or one describing a long-ago criminal conviction that the person has paid for. This doesn’t apply to companies or organizations — you can’t ask to have a negative article about your company taken down just because you don’t like it. And it doesn’t apply to public figures, like politicians trying to hire their Nazi pasts.
If one of our articles is costing your company business, and it’s factually accurate, we won’t take it down. You might not like the fact that it’s up, but customers need to know if the company they’re doing business with has a history of bad behavior.
If you’re an individual, and you are mentioned in an article in a personal capacity — not as a representative of a company or other organization — and the article is more than a couple of years old, and puts you in an embarrassing light, then email me at [email protected] and I’ll see what I can do about it. If it doesn’t serve any public interest to keep it up, I’ll edit your section out, or remove the entire article from our site.