Since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 came into effect on May 25th we have been keeping an eye on its impact on Boards, and for any new information and legal guidance that comes to light.
Boards, as a service, needs content in order to be useful, and the negative impact of our current policy of deletion in response to erasure requests has been quite significant. Just look at the original GDPR thread in Feedback, for example, which is completely illegible and has been rendered completely worthless to any future reader.
Of course, protecting users' rights to control over their personal data is of utmost importance to us. To balance these two elements, we will be changing how we handle erasure requests from this point onwards.
When we receive an erasure request, we will anonymise all of that user's personal data which is known to us. This anonymisation will render the data incapable of identifying the user, either on its own or in combination with other data we hold, meaning it is no longer “personal data”. This means that we will replace a user's username with a randomised character string within each thread. This character string will be replaced by an alternative string in a different thread. In this way, it will not be possible to use breadcrumbs of information to identify a user.
As is the case now, if you have included personal data such as your name, e-mail address or other personal data in a post, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the link to the post to request this data be redacted. We will delete personal data in posts if it is notified to us in this manner.
We will also delete personal data from your user profile in the database, which will result in the closing of your account, as Boards needs certain pieces of personal data in order to be able to provide a service.
Approaching Boards' 21st birthday, we have delved into some threads from down through the years and it would be a tragedy to lose content that provides some insight into Irish society, thinking, and outlooks at those points in time. I'm sure many would agree that we love archived footage thanks to Reeling in the Years, and threads of old can provide a similar snapshot. Just look at the threads created in response to 9/11; the 8th Amendment Referendum; the Grenfell fire; the moment Johnny Sexton knocked over a drop goal against France to set us on our way to winning a Grand Slam; heavy snowfalls; and ongoing threads such as the Brexit Discussions; those regarding Donald Trump; and many more historic threads.
Taking these steps in relation to GDPR will allow us to ensure users' rights are protected, while enabling us to preserve content and continue to provide content, information, and discussions to users.