By now most people have probably heard about the new EU data privacy law that will come to full effect on May 25th 2018. We have adapted Enfold to make the journey to compliance a little easier for those who deal with European Visitors on their site
First things first: especially if you are European this law was very present during the last weeks and there is a good chance you already know about it. If you don’t: what exactly is the General Data Protection Regulation?
What is the GDPR?
“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation by which the EU intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals from the European Union (EU). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.
It aims primarily to give control back to EU citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business (any company that is gathering, processing or storing the personal data of EU citizens).”
If you ended up on our site chances are good you are running your own website. If you have visitors from the EU on your site the GDPR basically requires you to adhere to European standards regarding the data of your users, otherwise you might get fined.
What do I need to do?
What do I not need to do?
There are currently a lot of horror stories out there on how websites must be adapted (like all forms must come with checkboxes, all user IP addresses must be erased, all external services like Google Fonts, Video Embeds and Maps must be removed, all Cookies must be blocked and whatnot).
Non compliance will result in catastrophic fines and will end your business. We should all close our websites right now and be done with it. etc etc
We have talked to lawyers, we have visited information events and we have scoured the web for reliable resources written by people with a background in data protection or law. The gist we got from those sources:
It’s all not as bad as it sounds. Yes there is some work to do. But many of these “required changes” are highly debatable or outright wrong, and even if you don’t get everything right from the beginning: the authorities in each country are tasked to try to inform first and only if they encounter repeated violation of the law impose fines.
The key takeaway from our talks with lawyers
This might probably be the most important takeaway we got from our research. According to our lawyers you can pretty much use every feature as is if one of 2 conditions are met: legitimate interest on your side, or consent given by the visitor.
The problem with legitimate interest is that its one of those things that are not strictly defined by the law, which means its open to interpretation. The question is: when are you allowed to put your interest first and when do you need to step back and ask for permission? A question that got no general answer as we understand it, but needs to be reviewed for each case individually.
Although legitimate interest may be open to interpretation, according to our lawyers it’s usually still the better option compared to user consent. The problem with consent is that it can be revoked at any time which can cause you a lot of extra work.
So what did change with Enfold 4.4
Finally we are talking about the theme :D As was discussed above, it is currently hard to tell what is allowed, what is not and what is in a legal grey area. So what we did is: allow you to choose how you want to use certain features, depending on what the legal advisors and authorities in your country tell you :)
The biggest changes we applied are in regard to external services. Since external services receive user IP addresses if you use their services we have implemented ways that this only happens on user interaction.
You can now set up your instagram and facbook widget in a way that they do not send data unless the user interacts with them. Same goes for google maps where you can set up a placeholder image that is displayed until the user requests the actual map. The very same was implemented for vimeo videos and youtube. The cool thing about those features is that its not only helpful with data protection but its also in accordance with our recent efforts to improve page speed and performance scores. And it of course helps a lot with performance if external sources are only loaded on user request.
We have also implemented a font upload feature that allows you to upload google webfonts (or any fonts for that matter) to your webserver. Users have asked for the possibility to use their own custom fonts for some time now and it was a good opportunity to implement that feature ;)
We also added a few shortcodes that allow the user to disable certain features on your website, in case you decide to use them without asking in the first place.
- [av_privacy_google_tracking] – allows a user to disable google tracking in his or her browser
- [av_privacy_google_webfonts] – allows a user to disable the use of google webfonts in his or her browser
- [av_privacy_google_maps] – allows a user to disable the use of google maps in his or her browser
- [av_privacy_video_embeds] – allows a user to disable video embeds in his or her browser
If you do not like the default text or language these shortcodes generate you can use your own text like this: [shortcode]YOUR OWN TEXT[/shortcode]
Cookie consent bar improvements
The cookie consent bar was also heavily improved in 2 ways.
- It is now possible to generate any number of call to action buttons
- It is now possible to display a information modal window that explains which cookies are used on your site and how they are used. It also explains why some of them can not be disabled via shortcode (of course browser disabling always works) and how to opt out of services like google analytics tracking. You can of course change that default info and set up your own modal information.
And since we are talking about cookies:
One more word about Cookies
You may notice the absence of a feature to generally disable cookies. This is a “requirement” that is also heavily discussed on the internet but since Enfold does not set any cookie that stores any personal information we decided against it. Enfold cookies do one of 3 things:
- dismiss the cookie consent bar permanently (permanent cookie)
- make sure that the breadcrumb navigation is displayed properly (session cookie)
- allow a user to disable certain features like webfonts, analytics, maps or videos (permanent cookies)
Although we only had very little time since our last major update we were able to also set up a new demo for you. Since this is an update that is caused by a new law, we only considered it fitting to provide a demo for lawyers :D
Last but not least: a disclaimer :/
Since the last major update was only a month ago there is not a lot more going on than what has been discussed above. Nevertheless here is the full changelog:
- added: new demo: Enfold Law
- added: cookie consent bar got an improved way of adding unlimited buttons
- added: cookie consent bar got an option to display a modal window with detailed information and the possibility to deactivate some cookies and features
- added: custom font uploader – you can now upload and use any font you like
- added: the instagram widget got a “data protection” mode were it does store all images on your own server
- added: google maps got a “data protection” mode that allows to load the maps API only when the user clicks on a google map fallback image
- added: shortcode that can be used in your data protection policy that allows the visitor to disable google analytics tracking
- added: shortcode that can be used in your data protection policy that allows the visitor to disable google web fonts
- added: shortcode that can be used in your data protection policy that allows the visitor to disable youtube and vimeo video embeds
- added: shortcode that can be used in your data protection policy that allows the visitor to disable google map embeds
- improved: cookie management for portfolio breadcrumb navigation is deactivated if breadcrumbs are deactivated
- fixed: an issue with safari admin menu
- fixed: an issue with the linkpicker not displaying all posts to select