General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data protection law which comes into full effect in 2018. It sets out the main principles of data protection and the responsibilities organisations have when handling personal data.
As things stand at the time of writing, it’s not entirely clear how these new regulations affect the running of a public forum like the Coastal Forces Veterans by a not-for-profit organisation, or private individual.
The new legislation essentially covers the use of personally identifiable information, such as email addresses, and ordinarily requires a specific opt in, over and above any made previously when joining a service.
The only identifiable impact of this legislation on the forum lies in the continued use of email addresses (originally obtained when users joined the forum) without a new and specific consent.
The forum technology (phpBB3) has the capability to send email notifications to all users, but to date I have never had occasion to use this facility, only ever posting notices of general concern within the forum itself, as here.
The only other features relevant to the new legislation that I can discern are:
- Notifications sent to individual users when new replies or posts are added to forums they are watching
- The facility for users to send private messages or pms to other board members that keep email addresses hidden from both parties, but which results in an email notification being sent
This means existing users will no longer receive notifications by email from the forum, which will otherwise continue to function as before.
The only real change is that if you are watching a particular forum or thread, you will have to visit the forum in person to see if there have been any new posts added.
A list of the most recent forum postings is displayed at bottom right on the Home page of the Coastal Forces Veterans web site, and I will look at implementing a similar feature on the Forum home page later.