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How safe is your information?Peter Ginnings
We have all been plagued recently by notices asking us to opt-in to continue to receive mailings – sometimes from people we may have never heard of! All because of the new European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR for short) that came into effect at the end of May.
HPC is in the same situation in trying to comply with the law over the way we maintain the church’s Address Book. We have an electronic database of members, past members and others who have been in contact with us and, over the years, that has built up to almost 1,200 names. We only hold basic information about each individual to help us in managing and promoting the work of the church, but we are still covered by the regulations.
We are allowed by law to hold information for people where we have a legitimate interest in doing so – for example, those on the Electoral Roll or in the Giving Scheme. And we can also hold the data of people who specifically give us their consent. The problem we face is in making sure that the data we hold is up-to-date, and that those on the database have specifically indicated their preferences for how we may contact them.
In May we contacted everyone in the Address Book to review the data we hold about them and to seek their consent. We contacted the majority by email, which provides us with a means of tracking who has replied and allows the individual to automatically update their own record. However we also sent out a significant number of hard copy mailings.
The responses to date have been disappointing – with just a third of email requests and less than 10% of hard copy mail requests being returned. The results are worse for children than for adults, and for adults in the outer reaches of the church community than those at its centre.
There are a grat many replies still outstanding. If you have yet to reply to us, whether online or on hard copy, please let us have your feedback as soon as possible. There will come a point soon when we may have to delete information for those who have not responded – which would cut them off from the weekly emails or the magazine (if we post or deliver it). This is not necessarily what they intended.
This is a really important issue – both for building our own community and for reaching out to others. We seek to respect an individual’s right to privacy and to protect your personal information. There are many ways within our system that allow you to share only as much information as you wish and decide who you share it with. But, as most of you will be only too well aware, this is a legal requirement that we must respond to.
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