|GDPR and Privacy|
By Dan Vis
May 17, 2018
If you have been receiving an unusually large number of emails lately about updated privacy policies, there's a reason: GDPR. The European Union recently passed a massive new set of guidelines protecting the privacy of its citizens, and it goes into effect May 25, 2018. Online companies everywhere are scrambling to get ready.
And FAST is no exception. Our plan is to be fully compliant by the upcoming deadline and we intend to offer these same protections to every member of our community--regardless of where they live.
What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. Essentially, it guarantees four basic rights:
- Right of access: This means a person has the right to know what data is collected and how it will be used. They must give consent before that data is collected and they must be able to revoke that consent at any time.
- Right of portability: This means a person can request a record of any data collected about them, and they must be given that information in a digital form at no cost. This is partly designed to allow people to retain control of their data when they change services.
- Right of notification: This means data must be properly secured, and if there is a data security breach, we must notify affected individuals within 72 hours of the time we first become aware of the breach.
- Right to be forgotten: This goes beyond a simple unsubscribe button. It allows someone to ask a company to delete all data associated with them, and apart from certain limitations, that company must comply.
Even though these protections only apply to citizens of the European Union, and there is some question how the law would be enforced on companies that do not have offices within the European Union, we support this initiative.
The amount of data collected by large companies like Facebook and Google should be a matter of concern to all of us. The GDPR is a good step in the right direction. And in light of recent scandals in the USA, it's possible similar laws will be coming here in the near future. Regardless, we feel an ethical obligation to give our community members the highest possible protections.
It's not a perfect law: some aspects are vague or unclear, implementation will be burdensome, perhaps even impractical, and there is a lot of confusion about how it will all work. But I personally believe every person should have access to these basic rights. No doubt the details will get ironed out in time.
How Will This Affect FAST?
We've always tried to follow best practices in our ministry, so the changes we will need to make should be minimal. Rather than viewing it as an inconvenience, it's a great opportunity to audit our entire framework and make sure everything is working optimally. We've been researching this for some time and are pursuing compliance diligently.
Here's a list of some of the things we are doing:
- More detailed explanations about data usage will begin appearing on all our optin forms. This will give you a clearer picture of what information we collect, and why. And we will be documenting your consent more carefully.
- We are currently working on a system to automate members ability to request a data summary report and edit or delete that data. Currently, we can only provide these services by collecting this information manually.
- While we don't collect large amounts of information, we will be reviewing log files and deleting all unnecessary data.
- Members on our mailing list who have not responded to emails for a period of time will be sent a series of special emails asking them if they wish to continue receiving our emails, and if there is no response, they will be unsubscribed.
- Similarly, we will reach out to members who have been inactive for a period of time at FAST, and give them an opportunity to reconnect. And where this does not happen, those accounts will be deactivated. In the future this process will be automated.
All of these efforts combined should make our community stronger, keep our members more informed, and help to ensure our site runs more smoothly. It will be a good bit of work, but we're happy to make these improvements!
Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.
How important is data protection to you? What do you think of the new GDPR regulations? What do you think of our efforts at FAST to extend these to all our members, worldwide?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/31/18|
|Glad you have signed up for Rocket Joan! I've been working super hard to make it better than ever--and I'm quite excited. Hopefully we'll see you in more classes in the days to come!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/27/18|
|You are privileged Zewdi to live in a country where these protections are guaranteed. We want to extend them through our site at least, to the world. :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/19/18|
|We definitely live in difficult times, Qing. With all the power for good technology poses, it also can be used for evil. Will continue to do our best to follow the very highest standards we can!|
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