Jetpack and The GDPR: What You Need to Know

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (aka the GDPR) is a new and far-reaching privacy regulation, built on a number of fundamental principles. Among these principles are personal data ownership, transparency, security, and individual choice.

At Automattic, we have a long-standing commitment to the principles of the GDPR, and have honored many of them — including data minimization, control, portability, and security — before they were required by law.

Today, we wanted to take some time to explain how Jetpack has been built — and recently improved — to honor the important rights guaranteed by the GDPR. We also wanted to share how you can use some of the new features and tools in Jetpack and WordPress core to honor the rights and principles of the GDPR for your own site visitors.

Continue reading → Jetpack and The GDPR: What You Need to Know

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Jetpack 6.1.1: Privacy Update

Jetpack 6.1.1 is now available for download and includes more privacy and consent tools to ensure your site is GDPR compliant. We’re also shipping a few small fixes in this release, including a fix for secondary languages (for example, English or Spanish variations) with the Likes feature.

We highly recommend that you update your sites to the latest version.

Here’s what’s new in this release:

Cookies & Consents Banner widget updates

If you’re interested in GDPR updates and compliancy, this update is for you. First, the EU Cookie Law Widget is now called the Cookies & Consents Widget Banner and comes with added consent-oriented functionality. The widget also lets you specify a link to your privacy policy, making it easy for visitors to find — if your site has a Privacy Policy page set (introduced in WordPress 4.9.6), we’ll automatically populate the widget’s settings with the URL.

We also added a new setting letting you control the expiration date of the consent banner, plus a new filter jetpack_disable_eu_cookie_law_widget that will disable the banner entirely.

New warning in EU Cookie Law widget

A new warning is displayed while configuring an instance of the EU Cookie Law widget:

Caution: The default policy URL only covers cookies set by Jetpack. If you’re running other plugins, custom cookies, or third-party tracking technologies, you should create and link to your own cookie statement.

Feedback data storage change

We added Feedback data (i.e., Contact Form submissions) to the personal data exported and/or erased by the latest version of WordPress core.

Miscellaneous fixes and updates

Here are a few final fixes to be aware of:

  • WordAds: We don’t show Ads unless the visitor is on the main query within the loop.
  • Likes: We fixed a bug that resulted in an alert box showing for sites set to languages deriving from main ones.
  • Lazy Loading Images: Fixed a bug where images would disappear when scrolling.
  • Sharing: Added a check for validating the Akismet key before allowing sharing by email.
  • WooCommerce Analytics: Fixed PHP warning when attempting to get a list of plugins.

Update to 6.1.1 now

As always, the full changelog has more details on this update, and we’re happy to answer questions you may have via our support channels.

Install Jetpack on your site or update to 6.1.1 now!

A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this release: Alex Kirk, Anthony Bubel, Anthony Garand, Brandon Kraft, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, Igor Zinovyev, James Huff, James Nylen, Jason Caldwell, Jeff Bowen, Jeremy Herve, Mikael Korpela, Mike Jolley, and RC Lations.

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Jetpack 6.0

Welcome to another release of Jetpack. The big new thing in Jetpack 6.0 is:

Enhanced privacy controls and GDPR compliance

Jetpack customers have always been protected by Automattic’s privacy policy, but we’ve gone further to give you even more control over your data. As of Jetpack 6.0 we have created a dedicated settings page where you can access all privacy-related documents as well as an option to opt out of activity tracking if you wish to do so.

Find out more about the changes in this release

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Jetpack 6.1: General Maintenance

Happy May and welcome to Jetpack 6.1. This month brings us another general maintenance release, so you won’t find any big surprises here, but there are still some important improvements to learn about.

The new things you’ll find in 6.1 are:

Privacy information links added

Jetpack’s position regarding its users and their visitors’ privacy has been enhanced in the process to make all of Automattic’s software GDPR-compliant.

You will now will see a footer on the “More Info” popover that appears next to each feature setting. These link to specific sections in our support docs describing privacy implications in the event you want to learn more about them.

Stats and Do Not Track changes

We now offer the users a way to have a clear map of the privacy implications of each Jetpack feature. We also introduced a new filter that will honor the Do Not Track feature for visitors that choose to take advantage of it.

Note that this only affects Jetpack’s own Stats feature and nothing else.

WordAds improvements

There are two improvements to the WordAds program to share this month. First, we’ve added support for the ads.txt file.

Second, we’ve introduced a new shortcode, [wordads], which allows you to include an ad inline on any given post or page content. This will give you even more flexibility in defining where your ads appear on your site.

Additional performance enhancements

There are a few bugfixes and enhancements in this release, but the main issues we tackled are the following:

  • When a post transitions to publish, Jetpack used to add Publicize post meta to all posts, whether or not it was a Publicize-able post type. This has been adjusted.
  • We removed the Sharing and Like display functionality from WooCommerce’s Cart, Checkout, and Account pages.
  • Users running their site on PHP 7.2 were seeing notices on their logs related to language features that were updated with this latest release of PHP. These notices should now be addressed.

Full changelog and thanks

As always, you can read the full changelog and see what else we have improved in this release.

Install Jetpack on your site or upgrade to 6.1 today to experience the latest and greatest!

Thanks to all the contributors to this release:

Aaron Douglas, Alex Mills, Allen Snook, Anthony Bubel, Brandon Kraft, Daniel Walmsley, David Newman, Derek Smart, Eric Johnson, Egill R. Erlendsson, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Eric Binnion, George Stephanis, Igor Zinovyev, Javi Alvarez, Jacopo Tomasone, Jason Johnston, Jeremy Herve, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Stieler, Joan Rho, Justin Shreve, Lance Willett, Michael D Adams,  Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Mikael Korpela, Mike Jolley, Niels Lange, Oscar Lopez, Peter Westwood, Rastislav Lamoš, RC Lations, Rob Landers, Rocco Tripaldi, Taegon Kim, Tugdual de Kerviler, Yaroslav Kukharuk, and Žiga Sancin.


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What to Include in Your Website Privacy Policy

Whether you have a personal blog, manage a website for your business, or run an online store, you should have a privacy policy in place. Not only does a privacy policy protect you, it also helps your site visitors feel more secure while making your website compliant with rules and regulations.

Today, we’ll talk about the purpose of a website privacy policy, provide a few tips for crafting an effective one, and discuss the best locations for it to live on your website.

The purpose of a privacy policy

Privacy policies exist to inform site visitors about how you collect and use their personal information. According to Business Dictionary, a privacy policy is a statement that:

“Declares a firm’s or website’s policy on collecting and releasing information about a visitor. It usually declares what specific information is collected and whether it is kept confidential or shared with or sold to other firms, researchers or sellers.”

Why you need a privacy policy

Aside from complying with the law, there are many reasons why you need a privacy policy on your website. First of all, having a privacy policy in place makes your visitors feel safer. Knowing exactly what data is collected and how it’s used puts your readers, clients, and potential customers at ease, as they won’t need to worry about their information being sold to questionable third parties.

Additionally, privacy policies fulfill third-party requirements. Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook require you to have a privacy policy in order to participate in their ad programs or use their analytics services. Without a privacy policy in place, you might be fined by the Federal Trade Commission, or similar governing bodies.

Last but not least, GDPR-compliant privacy policies help to build trust among your site visitors. If visitors feel safe on your website by knowing that their information won’t be used against their wishes, they’re more likely to recommend your site to their friends and family members, drawing in more readers and customers.

How to write a privacy policy

The content within your privacy policy will be unique to your website, and will depend on how you collect and use visitor data. However, there are general guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you’re complying with the law when creating yours.

1. Business name and contact details

Be sure to include your business’s name and contact information so that visitors can reach out if they have questions about your site or privacy policy.

Sony includes this information at the very bottom of its privacy policy page; however, you can also include it at the top of your policy statement.

2. Description of any data collected

If you collect any personal data like email addresses or phone numbers from your site visitors, you’ll need to include this in your policy and provide the legal basis for doing so.

Consider this example from Automattic, which provides a bulleted list of the various types of personal data that is collected from site visitors, and why this information is necessary for the company to have on hand.

3. How and when you collect data

Another website privacy policy requirement is to clearly state how and when you collect user data. This includes information like how data is used when visitors sign up for your newsletter, when they contact you, during the checkout process, when they leave a comment, and so on.

You should also mention any third-party services (such as Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel) that collect data on your behalf, as Instagram does with its privacy policy.

4. Why data is collected from visitors

Site visitors will want to know how you use their personal data. In the example below, Nike does a great job of explaining why and how it uses any collected customer data (in their case, it’s to create better user experiences on Nike’s website and mobile app).

5. If and how data is shared with third parties

As mentioned above, if you’re using a third-party service like Google Analytics or certain WordPress plugins, you’ll need to disclose how data is collected and shared, and for what purposes. This information should be noted in your privacy policy, as Airbnb does.

You can also include a link to the privacy policies of those third parties so that visitors have a better understanding of how their data might be used.

6. How visitors can opt out of data collection

Lastly, don’t forget to tell your visitors how they can opt out of data collection, as this is required for GDPR compliance. You can do this by including a contact or question section at the end (where you would list your contact information, as we suggested above). Include instructions for how they can request a copy of their data, as well as how they can have it deleted.

Consider another example from Nike that provides this information.

Where to place your privacy policy

Your website privacy policy should be located on its own separate page, and linked to on every page of your site. A common practice is to include it within the footer; this ensures that every visitor can access it no matter what page of your website they’re viewing.

Another good practice is to link back to your privacy policy within your contact forms, email opt-in forms, and on your checkout pages if you have an online store.

Customize your privacy policy with Jetpack

Some WordPress plugins may also collect visitor data. Jetpack is one such plugin, and it includes a free tool that can be used to explain exactly how data is obtained and used. With the Privacy Policy Helper, you can select the Jetpack features that you have enabled, and then copy the customized policy content into your privacy policy when you’re done.

Jetpack Privacy Policy

Protection and peace of mind for you and your visitors

When you create or update a website, it’s crucial to consider what privacy information will be displayed. You should also be transparent about how you obtain and use visitor data with regards to current rules and regulations. Customize Jetpack’s Privacy Policy Helper and use the tips above to help you draft a privacy policy and provide peace of mind to your visitors.

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Let Jetpack Support You in Creating a School Website

If you’re a teacher, principal, or educator, you know how important creating a school website has become — some countries even require them. Parents visit the websites of their children’s schools to find information, students access their assignments, and prospective students and community members can learn about upcoming events.

Creating a school website requires more than just setting up a landing page. It will serve as a hub for communications, marketing, and resources.

Let’s explore the Jetpack features that can help educators create their school with WordPress, while ensuring they serve as assets for students, families, and communities.

Use photos to commemorate and promote events

Images can play two important roles on a school website:

  • They’re an effective way for parents to see what’s happening at school and how their children are performing. Images from award ceremonies, trips, and stage performances help students celebrate their successes as well as commemorate their milestones.
  • Images show off your school’s strengths to prospective parents who might enroll their children in the future. Photos of classroom learning and students enjoying activities on campus can bolster a positive image of your school and faculty.

Jetpack offers tools that can present your photos professionally and dynamically. When you create a gallery (have you tried the recently launched Gallery block in the WordPress Editor? You should!), you can specify how images will be displayed, from the number of columns to whether thumbnails are cropped or not.

Share updates to engage with your community

More and more schools are becoming active on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. They use these outlets to share updates and content with their communities. Although effective, this can become a time-consuming labor of love when done manually.

Publicize lets you automatically share new content to your social media channels as soon as it’s published. Just connect to your social media accounts and it will happen automatically. You can also tailor each post to your liking, or have Jetpack create descriptions based on the content of your posts. If you haven’t connected any social accounts yet, no worries — you can do that with a few clicks from the WordPress Editor’s sidebar — once you click Publish once, part of the confirmation process includes the option to add the networks you wish.

You can also encourage students and proud parents to share your school’s posts on their own social media accounts. Jetpack’s Social Sharing feature adds convenient buttons to each post, allowing visitors to re-share them in a matter of seconds.

If a robust social media presence isn’t the right choice for your particular school, keep in mind that you can still implement Social Sharing features so that your visitors can share your content to their personal feeds.

Create a calendar to keep everyone on schedule

Whether they’re looking for winter vacation dates, the summer school session period, or the graduation ceremony start time, your students, their parents, and even your own faculty members will turn to your school website for answers.

With the Upcoming Events Widget, you can add a list of forthcoming events along the sidebar or footer of every page of your site. This makes it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.

If you link this widget to a Google calendar, it will automatically display the most up-to-date details.

Use site security to protect your data

To protect your students and their families, the security of school data should be taken very seriously. European schools were affected by GDPR legislation, and elsewhere, there are regulations in place to ensure that the data held by schools is stored and used appropriately.

Jetpack offers a number of security features to keep your site secure and accessible. These tools include downtime monitoring, automatic plugin updates, and malware blocking. You can also further enhance your site security with backups, spam protection, and security scanning, all features you can enjoy with a paid Jetpack plan.

Revitalize your school website

Your school website is a valuable asset. It can help you communicate with students and parents, allow you to share memories and accomplishments, and even attract new students. With Jetpack’s powerful features, you can enhance your school website, making it work even harder for your community.

Posted in Grow, Innovate | Comments Off on Let Jetpack Support You in Creating a School Website
Jetpack Backup security feature

Why You Should Trust Your Site to Jetpack Backup

Backups are a critical aspect of website management. They protect your files and customer data, as well as all the hard work and money you’ve invested in your site. Who will you trust with your data? There are a lot of options out there. 

Continue reading → Why You Should Trust Your Site to Jetpack Backup

Posted in Security | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments
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