Explain Like I’m Five: the GDPR


I get like four emails a day about the GDPR, and because we’re not Facebook, Google, or an ad network, it doesn’t seem world-shaking to what we do. But I wanted to know a bit more, and so I Googled for “ELI5 GDPR,” “ELI5” being short for “Explain Like I’m Five,” Reddit’s awesome format for simplifying complex topics.

This Medium article is a decent high-level introduction to the topic. I came away feeling that the GDPR is basically a Good Thing that will stop big companies from doing sketchy stuff with consumer data—at least to EU citizens :(.

That left me still wanting an ELI5 for is “How do I know if this matters to my particular business, and if so what parts it matters to?” So I searched a bit more and found the linked article. It contains a good list of user rights that the GDPR encodes, and some more practical stuff about opt-ins.

From my best reading, the only way I think GDPR will really affect our particular business is making sure we don’t auto-subscribe anybody to our mailing list, which we already don’t. I’m guessing that most non-enormous websites (as opposed to web applications like Airbnb or Twitter) will be in a similar boat.

If you do business in the EU, worth at least a skim to know what kinds of things are and aren’t under discussion.

2 Responses


  • Robbert says:

    Hi Fred
    I’m from the EU and actually businesses here are still struggling with the topic.
    In my opinion everyone storing EU personal data will be affected by the GDPR.
    For instance when I buy a course my personal data is being stored on your systems. This also means that you need to describe what you’re storing, for how long, etc.
    For businesses working online everyone will need to follow these rules as soon as you’re working with EU consumers. Just my thought…
    Oh by the way you’re storing my email address now;)

  • texxx says:

    WordPress also collected Robbert’s IP Address from his comment above — and the IP is also now considered Personal Data. Think about where IPs are stored — in the database, and in server access/error logs too.

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