by Katie Hornor
In a modern digital world that is constantly changing, it’s important that we as Christians “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
To that end, I want to make you aware of something that could affect Christian writers, bloggers, and business owners.
The European Union and the United Kingdom have initiated legislation called the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to further safeguard the rights and the personal data of their residents, including IP addresses, names, email addresses, interests, and preferences. The EU expects anyone who handles the personal information of their residents to comply with their rules—even those who live in the US.
The EU and the UK have been working on this legislation for two years, but now there’s a deadline: May 25, 2018.
What do you need to do?
Without getting into too much tech talk, the GDPR legislation requires website owners and businesses to give users more say in the type of data collected, how it’s stored, how it can be requested or changed, and what can be done with it, including the third-party providers you use (for emails, giveaways, etc.).
If you’re in the EU you have no choice—you must comply or shut down your website. And you’re not given the option to block countries from your website (which would likely greatly affect your website speed anyway).
Many US-based website owners are allowing the myths they’ve heard about this to cloud their thinking, causing them to run in fear of what they do not understand. I’ve addressed some of those myths in my article “Mythbusting GDPR for US-based Bloggers.”
Does GDPR apply to me?
To answer this, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your site for EU residents or targeting them in any way?
- Can you identify traffic coming from EU countries?
- Do you have newsletter subscribers from EU countries?
- Do you have customers/clients from EU countries?
- Do you use Google Analytics or third-party data processors (including your newsletter service)?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it is in your best interest to comply with GDPR. You don’t want to limit your opportunities to reach those God sends your way. You want to be a good steward of what God has placed in your hands under the existing authorities. And if you do everything within your power, as a US-based writer/website owner, to safeguard the information you collect from your EU readers, you probably won’t be assessed any fines.
The basis for GDPR is improving the online business culture of transparency, respect for other’s information, and trust with your readers, followers, and customers. So why wouldn’t you follow it? Compliance with GDPR shows that you care about people’s rights to make better choices. You care about the security of their privacy. You care about serving them better, even in the mundane technical issues of running a website. In short, you care about customer service and having great relationships with your people, which breaks down the barriers to sharing with them the message God has given you to share.
We could be seeing measures like this in the United States and state legislatures very soon. Not because someone is forcing us to obey another policy, but because with the growth of technology, there has to be a growth of protective policies and procedures.
What are your options?
I am not a legal expert, so I strongly advise you to research GDPR on your own and consult with a certified legal professional in regards to your decision whether to comply or defy GDPR. But here are the options as I see them.
- Block EU countries from accessing your website, blog, and store.
- Do nothing differently. A risky option.
- Be as compliant as possible with GDPR so as to not impede your opportunity to reach, market to, or have a testimony with EU residents.
If you’d like step-by-step help for making your US-based blog or website compliant, check out my course.
It’d be my pleasure to walk you through the process. You may also wish to visit these web pages:
Most days you’ll find Katie Hornor answering client emails or working on her next book in the front room ministry café of their 250-year-old home in tropical Mexico. She’s a Christian speaker, missionary, homeschool mom of five, author of more than forty self-published works and the #RelationshipMarketing brand behind ParadisePraises.com and TheBlogConnection.com, where she thrives on helping women live in the Truth, while growing their influence and online income.