Privacy usually matters to us most when it has just been infringed, maybe through an annoying unsolicited contact or worse the leaking of personal information to a dubious or unknown third party. Yet few of us bother reading the tedious terms and conditions, suffice to say that we do keep an eye on the policy and regulatory landscape and will amend, mainly to clarify them, our terms and conditions from time to time. We always exhort all our publishers to comply with them in principle and practice, i.e. not just be aware of them.

The big regulatory changes in the EU zone are in no small part driven by a need for regulatory alignment in the global data economy in the US and naturally it gets pretty complicated.

Unlike other platforms that we can think of, the social media giants, here at Our Locality.Org we regard ourselves as publishers and will act quickly to prevent things like copyright infringement and would act proportionately on anything that appears to us to be not ‘family friendly’. A number of factors insulate OurLocality. We don’t hold much data about our publishers or our users (e.g. an email address), which is the bare minimum we need to run an effective service. Almost all our publishers have discussion settings set to OFF or do most of their customer or public facing interactions using a social media service. We never knowingly share data with anyone and actively monitor the service (and the server) to keep it safe and secure at all times.

We have tended to align our Privacy Policies and terms generally to those at the WordPress.com, services that the UK’s own ICO employs. But there are some changes afoot, which WordPress.Com have just announced, which require your attention.

Many of our users websites use WordPress.Com tools through the Jet Pack plugin, which is globally available. This essentially means that those users are subject also to the terms of the nice people at Automattic who run WordPress.com and JetPack.com. If you connected the account yourself with WordPress.com you’ll have received an email to that effect. If we connected it you will not have received the notification.

[If you’re confused already WordPress.com is a commercial organisation that originally created (adopted) and now supports and nurtures the vibrant ecology of WordPress.Org, the very same software that drives the OurLocality.Org publishing platform.]

So what? Here’s what they say:

Although we updated a lot of the wording in our Privacy Policy, our core values remain unchanged: We strive to be fully transparent. We help protect our users from overreaching government demands for information. We keep the data we have a reason to keep. And we are thoughtful about how we collect, use, and share personal information.

These are principles that we abide by, though we’ve never been asked by any Government for anything. They continue:

Our commitment to your privacy means more than just updating our Privacy Policy. We’re continually thinking about new ways to be more transparent about how we use data, and are building new tools and features to give you more control over the data you entrust to us.

Some of these efforts are in anticipation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — a new EU privacy regulation that will affect Automattic and many of our customers. You can read more about our GDPR-readiness plans here.

And finally their FAQ about the policy are published here.

You don’t need to take any action if you’re content with the changes. The new WordPress.Com Privacy Policy will go into effect on January 3, 2018, and by continuing to use their services and the ones at OurLocality on or after January 3, 2018 you’ll be consenting to the new Privacy Policy.

We recommend that you take a peek at the links and will pin this post to the news site during January 2018.

Seasonal Greetings