On May 25, 2018, Internet users around the world suddenly began seeing notices about new privacy protections at popular websites. A European Union law regulating the collection and use of our personal data went into effect and, because the Internet is global, everyone is involved in the effort.
This spring, many of our writers and authors asked us about emails they saw about this new General Data Protection Regulation—often simply described by its initials GDPR. Anyone operating a website with a connection to European readers had to comply. But, those introductory emails seemed more like a bureaucratic blur than important news.
So, here is a quick introduction to what you need to know.
First: We believe that all of our writers should welcome the GDPR. That’s especially important if you are among our authors who maintain a personal website that collects information from your readers.
Here at Front Edge Publishing, we looked into this new mandate right away. We sell our books all around the world, including in Europe. Plus, our related online magazine, www.ReadTheSpirit.com, regularly attracts readers from the UK, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe as well.
We Value ‘Plain and Clear Language’
What’s not to like about a law that in a half dozen places stresses that media companies should communicate with people in “plain and clear language”? One of the core values Front Edge Publishing shares with our writers is “transparency.” We clearly state this in our 10 Principles of Publishing, which we include on our “About Us” page.
Here’s just one passage from the new law in English: “The principle of transparency requires that any information and communication relating to the processing of those personal data be easily accessible and easy to understand, and that clear and plain language be used.”
That’s why this information is coming to you as a column posted publicly on our website. We’re not sending this information to you as a mind-numbing disclaimer packed with small-print legal jargon. We celebrate clarity.
What We Collect—and What We Do with It
The first major goal of this new law is to let visitors to our website know what information we collect about them. Major media companies use a host of sophisticated cookies and other tracking software to mine data on web users. Here at our much simpler Front Edge Publishing website, we collect personal information in three basic categories:
- OUR CORE CONTRIBUTORS—We ask our colleagues to send comments, quotes and endorsements to us that we can share with the world to tell our collective story. When we exchange correspondence with our colleagues about the work that we do—we never share that contact information with third parties.
- OUR AUTHORS—Of course, we have a lot of information about our authors. We represent them as a publishing house. Once again, all of this information is collected in a voluntary and transparent way and used to promote our work with our authors.
- OUR OPT-IN EMAIL CONNECTIONS—We use best practices in maintaining all of our email contacts for newsletters, FEP tutorials or other correspondence. Our newsletter systems already are GDPR compliant so that those automated emails always arrive with an option to un-subscribe.
Your Right of Access
The GDPR talks a lot about our right to access personal information saved by websites. In fact, here at Front Edge Publishing, we welcome inquiries from our friends and colleagues about what information we have stored. Perhaps you would like to update your contact information or share some news with us about your most recent projects. That will allow us to serve you better as opportunities and events arise that may interest you.
As the GDPR says, it’s your right to access information about you.
In our view—we welcome such inquiries.
Right to Erasure
Finally, the GDPR stresses that people should be able to request an erasure of the information a website has saved about them. And, of course, we fully support that concept. We are ready to work with you on these matters, should they arise.