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 6.0

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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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
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