Trigger Warning: Discussion of *insects. Click here to skip the offending intro.
*No scary insect photos ever anywhere on this site.
I’m writing this post on the heels of a bit of meltdown.
Today in the span of 15 minutes I…
- stripped naked at my work desk
(confusing the hell out of my partner who shares this room)
- collected all the stray clothes in my house
- started the first of 4 loads of laundry
- showered (again)
Mind you; I didn’t have time for all that. Did it anyway. I saw a flea at my desk. Worse yet, as soon as I saw it, it hopped in my general direction, and short-circuited all logical thought. Maybe fleas are average for most.
I have a phobia.
Where I’m from, there aren’t really fleas. The closest equivalent we have is bedbugs. They are intense with or without phobias. Infestation means you move; you burn all your belongings, sometimes it means court, or losing your job.
When I first moved to Texas, I wasn’t quite ready for fleas and filed them right alongside bedbugs. They’re creepier in a way because they’re faster. But they are so different. I’ve since learned that when you see one indoors, it usually is one singular flea, barring specific circumstances, and, unlike bedbugs, that flea isn’t aiming for humans.
I know this because one of my strategies for dealing with my crippling fear is aspiring to be a kind of expert about insects. I’m having to do a similar panicking expert thing with privacy settings this week.
*Opens box of cereal*
— nadim (@nadimpatel_) May 23, 2018
Surely you’ve noticed all those emails about updated privacy policies.
Those are happening because of the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. The GDPR is a European Union privacy law that went into effect in 2011 but was recently updated to be more stringent (effective May 25th, 2018). Basically, this law means companies that are based in or serve folks in the EU must get consent for using and storing people’s data… or else.
As a user, I had mixed feelings. I was stoked to be explicitly asked by tech giants whether they had permission to use my data to try and sell me shit. “NO.” I said obvs, “Y’all don’t’ know me!!” But then after the 20th email asking me the same thing… I found I had run out of the energy to respond.
*squinting at some of these companies asking me for data permission this week
who even are you?
— write.action (@siobhansmirror) May 24, 2018
As someone who serves users, I have even more mixed feelings. Lots of the software I use was updated with neat tools that make it easier for me to be transparent with my users. That’s cool. My newsletter subscribers will already be familiar with my passion for transparency and consent as I’m always asking them for permission and feedback. Here’s the notice I sent to them about permission. No doubt this email is sitting on a frightfully large pile of permissions emails that they probably aren’t even ready to deal with…
(Be strong Y’all!)
On the other hand, compliance is kind of complicated. Look at these photos:
You can see that I’ve deleted the “Tweet” and “Like” buttons. I recently learned that to make buttons like that work, data is stored at sites like Facebook and Twitter about which sites users view. “Oh, well then, never mind…”
Are there ways that I collect your data? Absolutely. That said, it doesn’t align with my values to do so in excess, especially when it’s not necessary. It’s taking me a while to realize all I don’t know about data collection but bit by bit; I’m weeding third parties out of my space where I can.
To that end, here’s what I’ve done
- updated my sign up process
This is my new sign up form for MailChimp.
It may look familiar to my longer term subscribers because I always thought it was cool to send emails on request. As you would expect the “radtarot subscriptions” still gets you emails when I post a blog like this. The “littlered subscriptions” still gets you emails when I post a blog at littleredtarot. The “tarotscope subscriptions” still notifies you when a tarotscope posts. What’s different are the email and ad options.
Never before have my subscribers had this level of control over what I send them. Really, I should have already been offering this as I find that people are more excited to receive exactly what they ask for. That’s how I structure my readings, you get what you ask for, why wouldn’t the email be the same way?
Some of you may be wondering what kind of ads you’d see if you decide to opt-in to ads.
My emails are already pretty rare. But the ad email is even rarer. Even at my fastest, I’m never going to keep up with the pacing of ads I see in companies, and even in my tarot reading peers. I don’t much mind the slow pace because it means when I finally do offer an ebook, service, etc., it’s something I’m passionate about.
Here are some ofthe things I might announce in the coming months.
I collect data to learn what’s relevant to you and what you’ll like, to make my site faster when it loads for you, and to navigate you, with your permission, to third-party software. For example, when you click to tweet something from my site.
If you want to see what is collected contact me. I’ll figure out how to get that data to you. If you want that data deleted, same. I don’t yet know what all that looks like but I’ll geek it like I do everything else and we’ll find out. That way you’re only interacting with my work in ways that you are confident about.
What’s left for me to do
I have a temporary notice up on the bottom of my site about cookies that
Right now it offers implied consent. I need to replace it. It’ll be obvious when I do because you’ll be able to say “yes, I consent,” or “no, I don’t” once it’s finished. Now that I’ve written it here where you can see it, it will magically come to pass. *waves arm solemnly
We can look forward to the future where I’m completely over this compliance thing (and also that flea from earlier…).
If you are on my list and you didn’t update your settings yet, you can find your preferences at the bottom and top of any of my newsletters.
Questions? Contact me.
Here’s info about data collection stateside (which may or may not freak you out).
Like the way I handle data? Sign up for my newsletter.