In the preceding time, it was possible to store or collect data from any source randomly, and that is why a marketer could conduct his market anywhere without maintaining any hard and fast rules. However, in this digital era, it has become crucial to protect individuals’ data so that no one can encounter any pesky situation or for stopping spamming and by concerning with that notion, GDPR has been introduced so that it can protect data security of every EU citizens. This article will help you to know why GDPR is indispensable even if your business is not in Europe.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the law which has been introduced by the European Parliament and the council to protect all European citizen’s data while visiting any website. Although the regulation was proposed in 2016 for the first time, it was also ceased at that time. However, finally, it has been in effect since 25th May 2018. The forfeit for disobeying this law can be added up to 4% of the company’s annual incomes. More severely, it might be escalated at 20 million in some cases.
There are main three segments which are concurrent with whole General Data Protection Regulation, and these are-
- Data Processor
- Data Protection Officer (DPO)
GDPR has been forged with the comprehensive definition of personal data. For instance, any specific information that is connected with any person, such as, phone number, any ID, address, name etc. are considered as personal data for an individual which is the predominant factor for GDPR. More evidently, GDPR is a crucial issue for marketers and analyzers as they collect mass data for making any advertisements and offers successful by targeting specific audiences.
Under the GDPR notion, it does not matter where you are from or where your business is located, but if you provide or sell any product or services to any EU Citizens, then GDPR compliance is crucial for you because you cannot collect randomly any individual’s personal information which is considered as sensitive. According to GDPR, you will have to show the proper reasons behind collecting that data. For instance, you might have an E-commerce site located in the US, but you have mass customers, including those residing in Europian countries.
So, you may use any cookies for customer convenience, or you may want to store every visitor’s data such as location, name, phone number or IP address so that the next time, you can run any campaign for a product promotional purpose. So, surely you can record your visitor’s personal information; but before keeping this personal data of any client, obviously you will have to inform them, and you have to explain very clearly the reasons behind collecting their information. This provision is not to confine the data collection systems; however, it has been introduced for securing EU citizens data, and subsequently creating a safety net to protect data of all internet users.
How are you responsible for collecting personal data?
For example, you are a blogger, and you have a website. Usually, you post every day a new blog regarding diverse topics, and you have a myriad of visitors, and they all read your manifested blogs regularly.
In that case, they can sign up on your blog site so that they can be notified everytime a new blog is published. Now, if you pass this information to any email distribution service, for example, MailChimp, as you are the data controller of your readers. According to GDPR rulings, it’s not enough to make sure that as data controller you are not abusing their data security, but you will be accountable to ensure that your data processor (in this case, MailChimp) is GDPR-compliant as well.
Some crucial factors that you need to conceive:
Consent is the first and foremost factor for GDPR wherein you have to ask every user whether they are inclined to share information. And according to GDPR, you should use explicit consent so that any visitor can understand clearly why you are asking for information.
Rights to Data
You must inform every customers or visitors why, where and how their data will be stored. Even, if any customer or visitor wants to remove his data, you have to do it accordingly. GDPR is the regulation for securing data of EU citizens and this law instructed clearly that, if any individual wants not to share his personal information, you cannot ask for it the second time.
An organization is bound to inform appropriate authorities within 72 hours regarding any kind of data breach. Even, if a violation is considered highly risky, the organization will have to notify individuals who might be affected.
The main intention of GDPR is to make sure that any organization or company is not spamming by sending emails to any person what they don’t desire to get. Moreover, any company cannot sell people’s data without transparent consent. What is more, businesses have to erase user’s data and unsubscribe them from the email list if the user wants it.
GDPR and WordPress
The core WordPress software is GDPR compliant and WordPress team has attached so many GDPR improvements so that they can make WordPress GDPR compliant. In fact, because of the mobile nature of different websites, a plugin cannot offer exhaustive GDPR compliance. The GDPR permission procedure will differ based on what type of website you have, or what kind of data you are collecting or how you are processing those data.
According to the traditional system, WordPress used to save any website visitors name and email address as a cookie on the user’s browsers. This method was also a simple system for the user as they could comment on their Favorite blog at any time. But, because of the GDPR consent introduction, WordPress has added a permission box under the comment box. A user, who wants not to share his data, can comment there without checking that box.
You might have a website for any purpose, and you may use various types of WordPress plugins that record data or process data, such as- contact forms, analytics, email marketing, online service provider etc. However, whatever type of plugin you use for your website, you need to ensure that your website is GDPR compliant. A myriad of plugins has already added the GDPR features. Some of these tools are-
- Google Analytics.
- Contact Form.
- Email Marketing.
- Re-targeting Ads.
Google Analytics is undoubtedly a crucial tool for any website to monitor users’ behavior. Many website owners use it, and you may also use it. So, by using Google Analytics, you may collect or record user’s personal information such as IP address, location, user id and other data for dictating user’s behavior.
However, for being GDPR compliant, you need to anonymize all data before saving and processing it. What is more, you need to use a cookie that will ask a user for consent. By following that procedure, you can collect data by exhausting Google Analytics with GDPR compliance.
For your WordPress website, you can use MonsterInsights plugin which is entirely GDPR compliant plugin. The new MonsterInsight EU compliance can do –
- When any user enters into a site, it can hide user’s IP address so that it can ensure user’s data privacy.
- It can disable the user ID for tracking.
- It can disable the author tracking system for the custom dimension addon.
- It will disable the demographic and interest report of visitors for re-marketing and advertising later.
Moreover, you can use consent box for taking permission from visitors so that you can collect and information like location, IP Address etc. However, if you use any cookie, then you should use the built-in cookie that is fully GDPR compliant.
If you are using any contact form in your WordPress website for collecting entries as data for marketing intention, then you need to use the most evident system. For making your WordPress forms GDPR compliant, you need to use transparent consent for all users to collect data.
However, you need to disable the cookies, user agents and IP address for forms as well as make sure that you have an agreement for data-processing.
What is more, make sure that your form is compatible with data deletion system as according to GDPR rule, if any user wishes to remove his data from your site, you have to unsubscribe from your list, or you should delete exhaustive data.
If you are using WP Forms, Ninja forms, contact form 7, then you no need to make any data agreement as these types of forms do not store any data on their site. So, data will be stored only on your WordPress database.
Or you can also use the GDPR Agreement Field that comes with WP Fluent Form. This is the simplest possible way to ensure user consents while taking in their data. It will also be helpful to align your business with GDPR compliances in case of email marketing campaigns.
if you are an email marketer and if you use any opt-in forms for marketing purpose, then you should use an explicit consent from the users. According to GDPR, you have to maintain the following system for being GDPR compliant:
- New rules introduced for opt-in consumers for the email marketing.
- You have to use an explicit consent as the permission to store data as well as the evidence of consent saving system.
- A system that will allow any consumer or visitor to delete his data from your list or unsubscribe him instantaneously.
It is suggested that, if you are going to use any sign-up form, you should use a checkbox so that consumer can choose the table willingly if he or she wants to share data and receive email updates from you or your business.
Moreover, you will have to make a transparent consent where every consumer can conceive your intention for storing or collecting data. It would be better if you outline the objective and the frequency of the communication.
it is crucial to ascertain your consumers that they can claim to remove their data anytime. You can follow the checklist below for ensuring your email marketing is GDPR compliant:
- Clear opt-in data collection means the use of a checkbox where consumers can check manually and consent to your requirements.
- Add a clear explanation where you will state clearly your purpose for collecting data and how this data will be processed. Secure unsubscribe system that will allow consumers to remove their data anytime so that they cannot receive any email for the second time.
- Use double opt-in means according to GDPR, and you should keep a record as evidence that when and how your consumers opted-in to receive your email. So, if you use the double opt-in plugin, then when any consumer clicks on the button to join your mailing list, it will keep the consent record for every consumer that GDPR usually looks for.
- Forge a data protection scheme that will exhibit how you will protect your data. Although many companies already have this plan, yet they need to revise the system so that it can be compatible with the GDPR.
- Launch a risk assessment that will assist to alleviate the risk of stored data and sometimes it may help to germinate an innovative idea to secure consumer data which might be a vigorous initiative.
- Continuous monitoring that will help you to scrutinize every single segment concurrent with GDPR that may dictate whatever is appropriately storing data following GDPR.
Pro-tips: Check out how to design an email subscription form in accordance with GDPR.
Because of the advent of GDPR, all WooCommerce and E-commerce website need to be compliant with GDPR, no matter if your business is inside of Europe or out of Europe, if you deal with any EU citizens or if your customers are EU citizens, then surely you are bound to be compliant with GDPR.
Moreover, you need to audit frequently to make sure you are storing data in the right way. As you have an online business, so obviously you may require to collect consumer’s data such as phone number, email, location, address so that you can run a different campaign for promoting products and services. However, according to GDPR, you cannot gather anyone’s data, even you cannot store only information about an individual without his or her permission.
For taking anyone’s data, you need to use an explicit consent where you will exhibit your intention for storing data. However, to acquire the exhaustive compliance of GDPR, you need to ensure the following segments carefully:
- Inform your users or consumers that who are you and why you are collecting their information and how long you will keep their data. Even if you need to pass that information to any third party, let your consumers know about it.
- Use an explicit consent so that your consumers can understand it easily.
- Permit your consumers so that they can access where you stored data.
- Give them the authority to delete their data at any time if they want.
- Inform your consumers if any data breach happens.
If you follow these above rules, you can make your WooCommerce or E-commerce GDPR compliant.
If you want to follow audiences over the web by running re-targeting pixel or re-targeting ads, you need to use an evident consent to everyone so that they can willingly permit you to follow them.
Moreover, to make your WordPress site GDPR compliant, you can use some plugins that can help you to give a proper physiognomy to compatible with GDPR. For instance, you can use MonsterInsight which can help you to provide analytical data, and it is fully compliant with GDPR.
In that case, you can use WP Fluent Form to make contact forms, and this plugin is entirely GDPR compliant.
GDPR was not introduced to stop marketing efforts either in Europe or for European citizens, but the law was established to ensure the data security for any users or consumers. In this modern era, a lot of companies are continuing their marketing procedures by using user’s data, and they are processing those data without any protection leaving the users (i.e., people like you and me) vulnerable.
Even users usually don’t know where their data is being stored and processed or the purpose of these data collection. European Parliament just tried to eliminate that ambiguous circumstance so that every user or consumer can ensure their data protection rights.
You should undertake GDPR seriously because if you fail to comply with GDPR, you may encounter the most prominent problem ever.
Being GDPR compliant means that you have to ensure data autonomy to your visitors and users. Which means, you need to construct a transparent process so that you can collect or store anyone’s data and make everything clear so that your consumers can understand where you will store his data, why you are gathering his information, how you will process his data and need to make him aware of that. If a user wishes to remove his data, you are bound to erase it from your domain permanently.
The European Union states on their website that, they will warn for the first time so that you can make your website or business compatible according to GDPR and the second stage will be a strong warning, and in the final step, they will make a fine for being unruly of that law.
So, ensuring data privacy is the principal objective of that regulation and irrefutably it is decisive for this digital time as information privacy is an important factor for everyone and thereby we should welcome GDPR and need to establish it worldwide so that it can navigate us into another transparent marketing system which can introduce the practice for protecting data and assist in maintaining privacy for everyone. Hope GDPR will be entirely blessing for this digital time.