GDPR: International regulation for local marketing?

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GDPR

You may have noticed on this site (and many others) new flash screens reminding you about “cookies” and data usage.  These relate largely to the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which sets challenging notification burdens on websites that have any (even remote) relevance to Europe.

If you are an architect, engineer or contractor serving local or regional markets in the US or Canada, I’m sure your reaction would be the same as mine: “Who cares?” After all, although technically possible, it is quite unlikely that European regulators (or for that matter private lawyers, as there is the dreaded Right to Private Action in the regulations) would come after you.

But the story becomes more interesting and challenging if your business “could” have any relevance in countries subject to the regulation, including of course businesses/consultants that sell services or resources either directly or indirectly in the EU.

Certainly, in the online advertising community where I live quite a bit of my mental time, this regulation has been causing a fair bit of teeth gnashing.

But I’ve also learned that when there are problems there are also solutions.  Several services have popped up to help make your sites compliant (for a fee or several fees), but you can weave your way through these to pick and choose free components and then build out a GDPR-compliant site without spending any money.  I’ve done this by grabbing a free “Privacy Policy” generator (avoiding the extra sales add-ons from the site) coupled with a free WordPress plugin focusing on GDPR. The result: You’ll see the intro/confirmation regarding data security, but otherwise, the site remains “normal” to you.

Is this site now totally GDPR compliant?  I wouldn’t assert that — but I’m reasonably confident that it at least comes close to the requirements which, to me, is good enough as the European market is at most a secondary audience here.

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