The law of unintended consequences!

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Are you fed up with all those resubscribe and privacy update notices clogging up your in box? Join the club. As companies and other organisations scramble to make sure they comply with the EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force last Friday (25 May), we have found ourselves wondering just how much this whole exercise has cost the UK economy? Many tens, if not hundreds of millions of £, we suspect!

   GDPR minefield

Forced to ask for consent
Here at Pest we have found ourselves forced to add to your pain by asking you to re-subscribe to receive the occasional email we send out on things like products and services, job opportunities and event information. We’re feeling pretty disgruntled about having to bother you but, unfortunately our view, based on the Information Commissioners website (not a quick read by any means!), along with advice from the company who provide the system we use to distribute those emails, was that we had to ask for your consent for this part of the service we offer.

If you haven’t opted in yet then you can do so by following this link.

From our very first e-news, over ten years ago, we have always been careful not to misuse the data our readers have provided. For example, there has always been the opportunity to unsubscribe and once that button is pressed our system does not let us override it. To get back onto the list requires action by the unsubscriber, so even if we were tempted to send an email to someone who didn’t want it, we couldn’t. But then why would we want to send to someone who is not interested? It makes no commercial sense.

We’ve also always had a policy of limiting the number of emails we send out; a policy we will continue. To date we’ve taken the view that sending out our regular Pest+ e-news every couple of months, alternating with the printed magazine has been sufficient. Pest+ pulls together all the main articles posted on our website. If there happens to be something newsworthy in between, or useful information on products, services or job opportunities, then we send out a Pest+ Alert or a topic-specific email.

Don’t get us wrong, there are some serious questions to be asked about data privacy – take the recent high profile case of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook – but, with the GDPR affecting all businesses, charities, sports clubs and so on, no matter how small and no matter how little data they hold, it does seem like a regulatory shotgun, when a more targeted rifle could have done a much better job.

Fortunately the supply of Pest magazine and/or the Pest+ e-news doesn’t require any further action on your part and will continue as normal. This is because we have a contract with you to supply these items.

Decided not to email you
Oh, and by the way, we’ve decided not to email you to say that we’ve updated our privacy policy but, if you have trouble sleeping, then it has been updated and you can read it on the website.

Whether that’s a legal infringement is unclear, but at least that’s one less email to clog up your inbox. And, as the Information Commissioner herself, Elizabeth Denham, has said she doesn’t expect all companies to have got everything right straight away, just to be working towards compliance so hopefully no big fine – it can be up to Euro 20 million – is heading our way!

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