GDPR – What is it and Why is it Important For Your Website?

GDPR pen checklist

GDPR is one of those things that you may have initially heard of but are unsure as to what it involves. So, allow us to explain.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it was an order implemented across all of the member states of the European Union back in 2018. It deals with the way in which websites collect data of its users and then what it does with that data. Previously, websites could effectively harvest information about its users and then pass it on to other companies (for a fee) without the original individual even being aware of it.

As an individual, it means that when you land on a website you should be provided with options as to what happens to your personal data. You should also be able to decide on the information that is collected while the website also explains what they do with that information.

How it Affects Your Website.

If you have your own website, then you must provider users with the option of whether or not you can collect their data. You may think that it doesn’t apply if your website is based outside of the EU, but that’s not always the case.

Instead, if you service individuals from within the EU, then all of the same rules do apply to your website. For example, a cleaning company that only deals with people in Dallas are hardly going to have people from the EU wanting to deal with them. However, a company that sells cowboy boots that ships outside of the US are best to be aware of the GDPR rules.

You are no longer able to just collect information without the knowledge of the individual visiting your website. Also, you must clarify with them what you plan on doing with that information. This should include whether it is passed on by you to a third-party, if you will use it for marketing purposes, or if it’s simply to get a better understanding of how your website is used.  

What You Need to Do.

Let us presume that you are indeed in this situation with your website, what do you need to do? Well, you may have already noticed what other websites are doing in the same situation, they have warnings as you land on their website. 

In this warning, it tells the visitor that their data will be collected and also what it would be used for. They are then given the option of removing themselves from this data collection if they wish to do so. Some websites do go one step further and provide their visitors with the option to allow certain information to be collected while other aspects are ignored.

As a website owner, you need to have this kind of splash place included on your website. There are various plugins available if you run on the likes of Wordpress that makes everything nice and easy. If that’s not available to you, then your web designer will be more than capable of adding in the relevant warnings. If you do go down this path, then simply checking that they are aware of the various protocols is important.

Also, there must be a system in place whereby the information of that user from that IP address is not collected while they are on your website. If it’s discovered that you still went ahead and collected the information, then you may be in for a whole lot of trouble.

So, if you run a website that deals with any individual in the EU, then make sure you comply to the GDPR rules. Failure to do so may result in your website being fined a hefty sum. Considering how easy it is to follow the rules, being caught out like this would be crazy.

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