Being Good Stewards With Our Data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a privacy law being enacted by the European Union, which will take effect May 25, 2018. In short, this is to give users more control of and protection for their personal data. It means they have the right to know:

  • If any of their personal data is being collected by your website (even if it’s only their email address, and they’re choosing to enter their info)
  • That they have the option to opt-out, or request their data to be erased from your records
  • The name of your organization and how you collect and store user data
  • How you plan to use their data (email list, notifications, market research, membership database, or the big one—if this data is shared in any way with third parties [even trusted ones], or even for varied purposes within your organization)
  • That if any of your collected data is compromised by a hack or data breach, you will let them know immediately.

 

What does this mean for Seventh-day Adventist offices, ministries, schools or churches?

You might already be in compliance, but double-checking is highly recommended. If there’s even the slightest chance that a user residing in the European Union will visit your website or subscribe to your blog or email list—and there is always that chance—GDPR does affect your organization’s online presence.

 

How do I make sure my organization is compliant with GDPR?

Here are trusted, helpful sources to research the steps you’ll need to take for your website, email list sign-ups, or any type of contact submission form. Take special note of recommendations for email list sign-ups, contact forms, and website privacy policy wording.

The European Union’s GDPR FAQ page:

The European Union’s official infographic:

Email marketing software Aweber’s announcement and recommendations:

Elegant Themes, a major WordPress theme developer, focusing on what GDPR means for websites:

Information for website administrators and plugin developers for WordPress websites:

Google’s advice and instructions for Analytics users 

What happens if we are not compliant?

According to the European Union’s announcement, your organization will first receive a warning, followed by various penalties that could include substantial fines.

Don’t risk it!

 

This is a big deal, but it certainly fits within our collective mission and values.

With all the data breaches and the concerns with information-use floating through our news channels, this is one way the European Union is holding businesses and organizations accountable for what we could call “data stewardship.”

Stewardship is a big priority for us as a church, so we at the Center for Online Evangelism recommend that you take a few minutes to read up on GDPR using the above links, as well as some of your own trusted news channels, and apply what you learn to the fine print provided on your website, sign-up forms, applications or other submission forms, etc.

May we move forward in GDPR compliance, operating with respect, kindness and good stewardship as we build our “online mission stations.” May we seek to answer Googlers’ spiritual questions, help people with their struggles, and share the gospel using the many methods, platforms and opportunities in online evangelism.

Any questions? Feel free to comment below or email info@centerforonlineevangelism.org.

DISCLAIMER: While this website aims to be in full compliance with GDPR and to encourage its audience to do the same, this site is not a legal authority and the content here does not constitute legal advice. Instead it provides background information to help you better understand how the Center for Online Evangelism prioritizes and practices GDPR-compliant operations. Any legal information listed on this website is not the same information you may receive from an attorney, who would apply this law to your organization’s specific circumstances. We recommend consulting an attorney with such questions or requests for individualized advice.

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