The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Authors

On 25 May, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect. “What has this to do with authors?” I hear you ask.

In essence, the GDPR gives individuals much greater rights to have access to any information held on them and to have it provided (free of charge) on request. There is also a right to be forgotten/for data to be destroyed at the request of the person to whom the data relates.

My understanding is that anyone who has a blog to which people subscribe via WordPress (or similar platform) will not be affected as the responsibility for handling the data rests with the blogging platform (E.G. a person can hit the unsubscribe button at any time on WordPress and be unsubscribed without the blogg owner needing to take any action). If the platform hosting your blog is hacked (heaven forbid that this should happen) responsibility for any data loss rests with the blogging platform (not with the author).

However if you hold email addresses or other personal data on individuals on your own systems then you will, in all probability be affected. Basically anyone subscribing to an author newsletter needs to give their explicit consent (you can’t just subscribe them) and its important that there exists an easy way in which they can unsubscribe from your newsletter and request that their data be deleted. Many authors use Mail Chimp who are, I understand making strenuous efforts to ensure that anyone subscribing to your newsletter via their systems is protected/aware of their rights. However, its good practice to acquaint yourself with the coming changes as non compliance can result in a hefty financial penalty.

There is a good introductory article here, https://authorblberry.com/2018/03/12/what-gdpr-means-for-authors-and-bloggers/.

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