The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law in the European Union (EU) that goes into effect May 25th, 2018.

It regulates how any organization that is subject to the regulation treats or uses the personal data of PEOPLE LOCATED IN THE EU.

In other words, if you get inquiries from people in the EU, or might get inquiries from people in the EU, those inquiries and data from those inquiries is subject to the GDPR law.

Personal data is defined as any piece of data that, used alone or with other data, could identify a person. If you collect, change, transmit, erase, or otherwise use or store THE PERSONAL DATA OF ANY EU CITIZEN, you are subject to compliance with the GDPR.

The GDPR says that you must obtain SPECIFIC OPT-IN CONSENT from your EU contacts and clearly explain how you will use, or plan to use, their personal data. Simply filling out your inquiry form is not specific consent. Someone from the EU has to check a box and specifically “opt-in.”

So what should you do?

First, no need to panic. Yes, this is legal stuff but frankly, not a big deal. In many ways I think it is just implementing and formalizing common sense and common courtesy. I’ve recommended privacy policies and a terms of use policy on websites for years.

That said, yes you need to comply with this law if you get, or might get, inquiries via your website from citizens of the EU.

What should you do?

Easy!

Add a checkbox at the bottom of your inquiry form that people from the EU would check before submitting their inquiry.

It might say:

“Couples from the European Union (EU) please confirm you want information from us (opt-in) as required by the EU-GDPR.”

If you don’t have one already, I’d also create a privacy policy AND a data use policy at your website, and offer a LINK to that page as part of your inquiry form. 9.9 out 10 people will never click the link. When was the last time you did?

A combination privacy policy, data use, cookie use, and EU compliance statement at your website might be as simple as putting the following message on a page and then link to it in all of your page footers.

Our Privacy Policy, Use of Cookies & Data Use Policy

“We never exchange, distribute, or sell any information you provide us in the course of an inquiry from our website, or otherwise. We never share any information about our clients without their specific consent. We respect your privacy and any data you provide is safe with us, and will only be used to facilitate providing our products and services to you. Couples in the European Union, we fully comply with the EU-GDPR. Cookies, including third party cookies, may be used at this website in the course of standard website management (i.e. Google Analytics). If you have any questions about our privacy policy, data use policy, cookie policy, or compliance with the EU-GDPR please contact _________________ at (000) 000-0000.”

Finally, keep all of your inquiry forms, both as digital copies and hard copies, which you should be doing already for data analysis and website performance analysis.

 

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