General Data Protection Regulation – will this affect online Help?

Yesterday, I saw a presentation by Hazel Southwell on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be implemented on the 25th May 2018. The impact in its data privacy and protection rules seem likely to affect pretty much every website, with the threat of hefty fines for those that do not comply.

Organisations providing personalised Help content, by storing information in cookies or monitoring the behaviour of users living in the EU by tracking their digital activities, will need to comply with the GDPR regulations. In particular:

  • Businesses will have to adopt governance and accountability standards and meet their data privacy obligations.
  • Clear and affirmative consent to the processing of private data must be provided, and the relevant information must be laid out in simple terms.
  • Organisations need to consider the risks of transferring data (such as the storing of cookies or IP addresses) to countries outside of the EU.

One solution is to require users to log in to see information. However, this may be an unpopular and impractical solution for many users.

Is legalese a good or bad way to communicate?

The Leveson Inquiry has provided a number of examples of how lawyers and judges communicate. The report, written by Lord Justice Leveson, was praised by The Guardian yesterday for its clarity:

Longer than Harry Potter, shorter than Proust, denser than Tolstoy. Brian Leveson’s report thumped into the world at just under 2,000 pages and just over a million words. What the Leveson report lacked in literary elegance, it made up for in detail and clarity.

However, the newspaper also found time to highlight chief inquiry lawyer Robert Jay QC’s formidable vocabulary. From ‘condign’ to ‘propinquity’, they created video of some of the “zingers” he unleashed:

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