How to Keep Your Non-GDPR Forms GDPR Compliant with AWeber’s Form Wizard

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents a major change for consumers across the EU. Formed in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the growing privacy concerns associated with the use of personal data, the GDPR places a greater emphasis on consent and controls the use of such data.

While the majority of businesses have taken a backseat and adopted ‘best practices’ to ensure compliance, marketing agencies will need to prioritize and engage with clients to ensure they meet the stringent new requirements.

To assist with this process, we have put together some top tips on how to implement the GDPR into your workflow. We hope this guide will help you prepare for the upcoming changes and allow you to offer your clients a compliant experience while maintaining a successful business.

Prioritise Clarity

The first and most critical step to ensuring compliance with the GDPR is to ensure you have the necessary information about the subject of the data processing. In the rush to process and send off forms, it is easy to lose sight of this most fundamental requirement.

From the outset, you must establish what the processing is for, how long it will take place for, who it will be shared with and whether there are any consequences for the individual if they do not give consent.

To assist with this, the GDPR provides a model consent form that can be modified and personalized as required. The model consent form is split into three distinct parts: The first is a short summary of the data processing activities; The second is a detailed explanation of the processing rationale; The third is an explanation of the data subjects’ rights.

Each part should be separate with a paragraph or two per part. This will help bring the form to life and increase the clarity of the information for both you and the potential data subject.

Check-Off Boxes

A crucial part of the GDPR is ensuring that all data subjects are aware of the data processing activities that will take place.

With the GDPR, individuals have more control over their personal data than ever before, and they must be made aware of activities involving their personal data. To assist with this, the GDPR allows businesses to electronically tick off the data subjects as to their awareness of the GDPR and their consent to the data processing activities.

This can be done through a simple tick box system similar to the one already used for acknowledging receipt of mail or email. Checking off boxes for consent should be included in the notification email or letter as a simple and quick way for the subject to indicate their consent. This is a vital step to ensuring full compliance with the GDPR. Without consent, data processing activities may not be legal, or at least not compliant with the new regulations.

Include Anonymized Data

Although the GDPR places great emphasis on privacy and transparency, it also provides a way for businesses to provide important contextual information to individuals without having to share their personal data. In particular, under certain circumstances, businesses may choose to provide anonymized or aggregated information to individuals to allow them to make an informed decision about the data processing activities involved. For instance, a business may wish to explain to a data subject why they are required to process their personal data, or they may want to provide them with relevant statistical information about the demographics of their user base.

The GDPR provides a safe harbor for this kind of activity, which means that if you follow certain guidelines (such as getting explicit consent for the personal data processing), then you can share contextual information without needing to worry about breaking the law. This safe harbor also provides an important tool for businesses to comply with the GDPR while continuing to provide vital context to their customers. With the right approach, it is possible to offer a fully compliant experience while offering consumers the value that comes from a 360-degree view of their audience. To find out more, visit the Data Protection Commission’s website to read their useful guide to the GDPR.

Take Your Time

The General Data Protection Regulation is a comprehensive piece of legislation and one that will require a significant amount of time to fully comprehend. For this reason, it is essential that businesses take the time to ensure they make the right decisions and establish clear policies and procedures before they start processing data. This will help ensure that when the GDPR comes into effect on May 25th, they are fully prepared to handle any situations that may arise. As a business, it is also important that you do not rush into processing personal data without thinking through the implications of each step.

A rush to meet the May 25th deadline will only lead to trouble and potential breaches of data privacy, so instead of risking this, why not take the time to get everything right?

Stay Organized

To assist with the process of converting all of their forms into GDPR compliant documents, businesses will certainly need a form management tool. Luckily, there is a tool that can help with this very task: AWeber’s Form Wizard. With Form Wizard, you can take your existing client forms and get them reviewed by a professional. They will then provide you with a bespoke report containing all of the forms that need to be amended, along with the suggested changes.

From there, you can either choose to amend the forms yourself or have a freelance writer review and edit the forms for you. Either way, you will end up with a report of the reviewed forms that can be used to fully understand where you stand with GDPR compliance.

The suggested edits that the report provides can be applied directly to the forms in Form Wizard, so you do not have to go back and make the edits manually. This makes the whole process much more efficient, saving you both time and effort.

Keep Your Audience In Mind

Above all else, the General Data Protection Regulation is about ensuring that every data subject is listened to and that their privacy matters. This will require a complete overhaul of the way that businesses handle consumer data, so instead of just focusing on processing and delivering data, marketers will need to spend more time engaging with clients and gathering feedback.

To assist with this, the GDPR provides a way for businesses to seek feedback from data subjects via a survey. For this survey, you will need to prepare a short, concise questionaire and ensure that the data subject is made aware of its existence. Once completed, you can request that the data subject takes part in a voluntary feedback survey to provide you with valuable, and most importantly, anonymous information.

The Importance Of Contracts

One of the central tenets of the General Data Protection Regulation is the role of contracts in safeguarding consumer privacy. In particular, the GDPR places a great deal of emphasis on contractual clauses and ensuring that the individual knows exactly what their rights are and what they are agreeing to. Without proper contractual documentation, it is quite possible that data subjects will not feel protected by the new data privacy laws and may take their business elsewhere.

To assist with this, the GDPR provides a model contract that can be modified and personalized as required. One of the most useful features of the contract is the section on data protection. Here, you can put in place a data privacy policy that will govern the processing of personal data and introduce the individual to the GDPR. This data privacy policy should be available in a digital form and linked to a privacy cookie that ensures the individual acknowledges and agrees to the terms of the contract when accessing the site. The cookie should be checked every time the individual returns to the site and, if it has not been accepted, then the user should be redirected back to the privacy policy page to review the terms and conditions.

Closing Thoughts

The General Data Protection Regulation will be a radical shift in how businesses collect and process consumer data and require all businesses to reevaluate their data collection and processing routines. To assist with this, we have provided some top tips on how to implement the new regulations into your workflow. From seeking clarity on consent to establishing contractual agreements, to ensuring you meet the necessary details on paper, these tips will help you to understand what is required and help you take a compliant approach to data collection. As the saying goes, if you want to keep your customers, you must provide them with value and respect their privacy. The General Data Protection Regulation offers businesses a clear set of guidelines to follow in order to ensure they meet these important criteria.

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