Blogging: GDPR and Data Protection


I came across a problem today, trying to leave a comment on the site of one of my favourite bloggers. It seems she has tried to comply with the new rules on Data Protection, and storing information. I had to ‘create an account, username, and password’ for her site, and then attempt to ‘accept the terms and conditions’ associated with leaving a comment. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and she is now struggling to find out how to add a check box to allow readers to accept the responsibility of following and commenting.

This is something that will affect all of us in the blogging community, and could signal the end of ‘easy’ blogging as we know it. She sent me some links, and I respectfully suggest that we should all immediately find out more about what this means to us. Accelerated by the issues surrounding Facebook, and Cambridge Analytica, new laws are coming into force about Data Storage and Protecting Privacy. Laws from 2016 will now be enforced, as from May 25th this year.

What is GDPR?
In 2016, the European Commission approved a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In short, GDPR states that if a website collects or stores data related to an EU citizen, you must comply with the following:

Tell the user who you are, why you collect the data, and how long it will be stored.
Get clear consent before collecting any data
Let users access/delete their data
Let users know if data breaches occur

What is the definition of “personal data”?
Under GDPR, personal data is any information relating to an “identifiable person”. Identifiable information includes such things as a name, ID number, location, ethnicity or political standing. Data doesn’t have to be confidential or sensitive to qualify as “personal”.

When looking at most normal blogs, personal data will include:

Blog post comments data (name, email, IP)
Traffic stats plugins/tools such as Google Analytics
3rd party hosted services such as Jetpack, Bloglovin’ and Disqus
Email signup forms such as Mailchimp or FeedBurner
Contact forms
Issues relating to the location of your web host. E.g. data is transferred to servers outside the EU

As you can see, even the most humble and non-commercial blogs will be affected, as the information provided by following a blog, or leaving a comment, is considered to be ‘Personal Data’. This is going to potentially cause all of us to have to do a lot of research, and to have disclaimers and login procedures related to our blogs. In a lot of cases, it will just be no longer worth the effort of being a blogger. If our blog is hacked, we will be responsible for advising everyone about such a ‘breach’, and the possible disclosure of ‘personal information’.

OK, I am not panicking yet. I am hoping that WordPress will come up with something generic, that we can use as an ‘umbrella’. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend that you do some research on GDPR, especially if you are in Europe. If any of you know more about this than I do, then please feel free to let us know, and correct any points derived from my lack of understanding.

My thanks to Olga Nunez Miret, for bringing this to my attention.
Her blog can be found here.

More information can be found on these links.

81 thoughts on “Blogging: GDPR and Data Protection

  1. I’ve been wondering where we as bloggers fit into this and somewhat late to the party, am researcing this now! Thanks for this helpful blog. I can’t find anything directly from WordPress yet. Is there anything do you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to fall into two areas. Self-hosting bloggers (and all sellers) will probably be responsible for complying with the legislation this week. However, it seems that those of us who use the free WordPress platform are not collecting data or records. They are collected and stored by WordPress, so not our problem as such. I am sure that WP will be releasing something we can all add to our blogs (like the cookies warning) which will make readers responsible for leaving comments, or following. It seems to be a case of ‘watch this space’. WP are leaving it late, that’s for sure. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. If I dig around the back end of my site I can find the emails of my subscribers I think but I’ve never done anything with it and it takes forever for me to work out how to do it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It mainly concerns the EU at the moment, Kim. Though if you allow comments from followers outside the US, (like me) then technically, you have to be compliant. I am fully expecting WP to come up with something soon, and will update when I know anything.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good info Pete……the way they are dicking with the internet here in the US it will not be long before we are having these problems. The NSA is collecting data so I just let them go wild….LOL chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Pete. I’ll see what WordPress says. It seems the UK has agreed to be compliant so Brexit will not solve anything. I have tried a different plugin now, but let’s hope they do come up with something that makes it easier. But most of the plugins I’ve seen clarify that they cannot ensure compliance even if you use them, so I wonder what the conditions will be. In most cases, I don’t think it will matter as most of us don’t make much money (if any) from our blogs, but I suspect the rules will carry on changing. I’ll check Nic’s reply (although I’ve made some changes and people seem able to leave comments again on my blog. God knows!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pete there is an important part of the law that says “a natural or legal person engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form, including partnerships or associations regularly engaged in an economic activity”. So if you don’t make any money from your site you should be OK and don’t bother with GDPR!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I have just reblogged a couple of posts of a good blogger friend of mine and she makes it clear and simple she has done research… you will find them useful.

          I plan to a post may be later today if i can find more out

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Pete! Very useful! As i heared yesterday, Automattic ( will bring an Update for GDPR-conformity of theirs WP-system tomorrow.
    Then – i hope its a full solution for us EU-citizens – you have to go to the dashboard and use all the special new possibilities to harden your blog for conformity with EU-law. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, Michael, I think you know that Germany and France ARE the EU. 🙂 Mrs Merkel is the President of Europe, no denying. 🙂
          That is the main reason I voted to leave, my good friend. Supposedly 28 countries, run by just two. 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I fully consent Pete! Where Germans politically act alone or with only one other partner there could be no freedom. Dont forget: Mrs. Merkel is our chancellor, but the decisions are done by the Government itself. In the year 2014, I asked Mrs Merkel in writing whether the Federal Republic is willing to accept the Treaties of international law with the Czech Republic in future. She consent, but answered she can not command this to others. You remember Adolf 80 years in the past? 😦

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Sadly, I remember the darker history of your country, all too well. My family endured The Blitz, and all the adult men (including my Dad) fought in the war. But times have changed, so I am proud to call you a friend, Michael. Too late for old grudges now. 🙂
          I may not be a ‘European’, but I have always been an ‘Internationalist’,
          Best wishes to you as always, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. if Tim Berners Lee wasn’t still living, he’d probably be spinning in a grave. 😀
    WP is the one collecting data, not me. I’ll let them sort it out, they’re too big to fail apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, how terrible this panic among my blogging friends in the EU! I had quite few bloggers being so frustrated with then new data protection laws that they threatened to quit and give up blogging altogether. Thank you, Pete, for bringing some clarity to this issue! Hopefully, WordPress will find a solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh for goodness sake… Everything seems to get more complicated by the minute. Already on some blogs you have to put in your name and website every time, even if you go on every day. Then this sends you to another window, where you have to log into WP, AGAIN, even if you’ve ticked the ‘remember Me’ button the time before. And only then can you comment, which, I can tell you, has often stopped me from doing so. Because it just annoys me so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Well…. I’ve got my tin foil hat on (as always) so I’m ready for it.
    I’ve come across this on many sites. Either, the need to put in info and sign off on terms. Or an agreement to privacy cookies… I can’t stand any of it…

    Liked by 3 people

        1. He just got back to me, Nicole.
          Nicholas C. Rossis

          You have quite the eagle eye, Pete! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, please, when all is answered (it’s over 1,000 words long, so I’d rather not give you a hasty response here) 🙂

          We have to wait until the 15th, it seems. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so confused and paranoid right now! You know my tinfoil hat is on just like yours Nicole!😱 I saw the cookies thing pop up on my own blog I think before!! What does that mean?! What is said cookies? Is there a cookie moster? 😵 🍪 I don’t know if it was for sure my blog but I am freaking out because I didn’t okay shit with them!😒 Also that would be crazy if they make everybody in Europe login to something or do something. This would make blogging quite difficult!😵 Thanks so much for letting us know this, Pete!💙

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, it’s okay Dani.. It’s the PRIVATE cookies. I assume that’s just the government luring us into their windowless van with cookies to take all of our private informations and track our every move… Absolutely NOTHING to worry about!! 😐😮😯😫🤤😨😵😱

        Liked by 1 person

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