The royal wedding isn't the only thing making waves from across the pond. Effective today, May 25, 2018, a new regulation (the General Data Protection Regulation) has gone into effect for all websites that serve the European Union, and how web visitor information is gathered, stored, and used by anyone conducting business in the EU.
Why Does This Matter to Me?
This regulation is a little tricky, because it impacts any business whose website might be accessed by a person in any country in the EU, even by accident. So if your website collects information like cookies or IP information, or uses forms to gather contact information like email addresses or phone numbers, you should make an effort to learn about the GDPR and decide for yourself if you'll need to keep your website in compliance.
What Actions Do I Need to Take?
Depending on how your company handles web-gathered data, you might not need to do anything.
If you or your organization operate a website that does NOT collect visitor information, you should be able to keep doing what you're doing.
You will also need to add a notification (like a pop-up or text banner) to your website that advises visitors that their information is being collected, and how they can opt out of giving that information if they want. You can use this checklist as a starting reference to better understand GDPR compliance.
What is TOPS Doing to Address This?
While TOPS Software does not currently provide software for European countries, we do share our informational assets with the world. Part of our goal as a company is to be a resource for anyone interested in bettering their business and expanding their knowledge of the CAM industry. We strive to "Be TOPS - Team-oriented; Open; Positive; Sympathetic!" The GDPR gives us a chance to improve our Openness and shed a little light on to how we do things at TOPS.
You may start to see new notices pop up throughout our website informing you about cookie tracking and information usage. Don't worry, nothing has changed. This is something we have always done to make your consumer experience seamless and easy. The only change is now there's a handy little notice that reminds you of that.
We know that legalese can be confusing, so we've written out a few of the big takeaways in plain English:
What are "cookies" and why can't I eat them?
Sadly, these cookies are not of the chocolate-chip variety. A cookie is a text file that tells a website who you are--think of it as your computer's name. Cookies exist to tell a webpage if you've visited before, kind of like signing a virtual guestbook.
Okay, well what other non-edible stuff are you collecting?
We collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that you provide to us, including, but not limited to:
- Full name
- Company Name
- E-mail address
- Work address
- Telephone number
We also collect information from your computer, like your hardware and software information. Here's some (but not all) of that information:
- Browser type
- IP address
- Access times
- Domain names
- Referring website addresses
Wow, that's a lot, do you really use all of that?
In a way, yeah! This information helps us help you the best way we can. Your contact information tells us how to get in touch with you when we've got new material to share, or exciting events going on in your area. The techy stuff tells us things like how people find us, and what information is being accessed most consistently and frequently. We use this to understand what content is most useful to our clients, so that we can better serve them.
Be honest, are you selling that information on the side?
...That's a joke. Be it hairs or hares, we don't actually have either.
The real answer is: No, we absolutely, unequivocally do not sell (or lease, or rent) the information we gather from you on our website to any third parties.
So nothing changed at all, then?
Not really, no. The only changes we've made are minor clarifications of already existing policies, and adding a pop-up notification explaining those policies to any EU friends who stumble upon our resources.