Is SEB affected by GDPR?

Back in 2016 the E.U. passed a new law to protect user’s data called the General Data Protection Regulation that goes into full effect on May 25th, 2018. This is why you’ve been getting emails from so many online businesses on their Privacy Policies and how they handle your personal information. According to Wikipedia, the general gist of the law is this:

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.[1]

Superseding the Data Protection Directive, the regulation contains provisions and requirements pertaining to the processing of personally identifiable information of data subjects inside the European Union. Business processes that handle personal data must be built with privacy by design and by default, meaning that a system must be designed from the start to adhere to the principles of data protection, and use the highest-possible privacy settings by default, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately. No personal data may be processed unless it is done under a lawful basis specified by the regulation, or if the data controller or processor has received explicit, opt-in consent from the data’s owner. The business must allow this permission to be withdrawn at any time.

A processor of personal data must clearly disclose what data is being collected and how, why it is being processed, how long it is being retained, and if it is being shared with any third-parties. Users have the right to request a portable copy of the data collected by a processor in a common format, and the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances. Public authorities, and businesses whose core activities centre around regular or systematic processing of personal data, are required to employ a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who is responsible for managing compliance with the GDPR. Businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy.

When I first heard about the law my first thoughts were, “Well, I’m not in the European Union so this doesn’t apply to me,” but it turns out that there’s a chance that it might. So much so that WordPress has had new features put in place specifically for creating a Privacy Policy and giving users the ability to see what data has been collect and export that data from the blog. There’s been a ton of articles out there on what the GDPR is and how it might affect bloggers, but all of the ones I’ve seen so far assume you’re blogging as a small business. I’ve yet to find a clear article on what it means for someone who does it as a hobby.

From what I’ve been able to gather, any website that captures so much as the IP address of someone visiting it is at risk of being in violation of this regulation and thusly possibly liable for fines for up to €20 million for non-compliance.

Now, I’d be surprised if the E.U. suddenly decided to come after me and the blogs I host for myself and friends and family as we’re decidedly small fish in the ocean of the Internet, but I’ve noticed a sudden influx of new user registrations on SEB from a bunch of people all using the same domain name which is a known SPAM account domain and I have to wonder if there’s going to be a trend of scammers trying to blackmail non-compliant bloggers into coughing up some dough. Which is why I’ve been trying to learn more about how this law applies to people like me.

In short, the whole thing is a huge pain in the ass and could bring about the end of Stupid Evil Bastard if I can’t figure out what I need to do to be in compliance. Turning off user registrations and disabling comments wouldn’t be enough as IP addresses would still be captured and that’s enough to be an issue. Short of blocking all traffic coming from the E.U. (and that wouldn’t stop users on VPNs), I don’t see an easy way to deal with this and I’ve got three days to figure this out.

Considering I’ve been researching it for a couple of months already, I’m not sure I”m going to be compliant in time.

UPDATE: It turns out that WordPress’s privacy policy tool helps you to set one up with suggestions that take into account what plugins you have installed. You can see SEB’s shiny new Privacy Policy here.

It’s back! Return of the Son of the SEB PODCAST!

Despite it being almost three years since the last one and no one suggesting anything for us to talk about, Dave Hill and I managed to blather on for an hour about whatever we wanted to including some spoilery talk on Avengers: Infinity War. You’ll find it embedded below and the spoilers start at 47:17 so skp the last 13 minutes if you don’t want to hear them:

The Return of the Son of the SEB Podcast.

Hey, remember how Dave Hill of ***Dave Does The Blog and I would occasionally get together online and talk about stuff that you guys wanted to hear our opinions on? Remember how the last time we did it we were both shocked and appalled that it had been three years since the previous podcast?

Well, fuck me if it hasn’t been almost three years again since the last one.

So it’s about damned time that we get together for another one. The last one was accomplished via a Google Hangouts live stream and, other than a small technical hangup audio-wise early on, it worked pretty well so we’re doing that again!

That means we’re once again looking for suggestions of things you’d like to hear us talk about whether we’re qualified to pontificate on it or not. Given the political prediction I made during the last one that I was completely and totally wrong about, you can be sure I’ll probably be completely wrong about something I say during this one.

You can leave your suggestions in the comments here, on ***Dave Does the Blog, or on our social media accounts if that’s what suits you. We’ll scrape ’em together and see what kind of trouble we can get into with them.

The actual live stream is set for 1PM EDT on Sunday the 6th of May so you’ve got some time to think up something good. I’ve got an event for it on G+, but it’s currently set to private. If there’s sufficient interest in watching it live as we stumble through it I can always make the event public. Let me know.

Continue reading

A quick vlog update.

A quick update.

Apologies for being away for so long — I just realized I didn’t get a single post up in February — but I am still alive and kicking. My recovery from the pinched nerve issue has been slow, but steady with my pain levels being mostly background noise these days. I had my second steroid injection into my spine on February 19th and it has helped considerably. I doubt I will need a third one.

Sitting in most chairs and on the toilet isn’t much of an issue anymore and I can bend over to pick up stuff from the floor without too much issue as long as I’m careful in how I do it. Putting my sock and shoe on my left foot is still a struggle, but I can do it on my own most days. I still have weakness in my left leg/foot/toes with numbness in the calf, big toe, and pinkies of my hands, but pain-wise I’m close to being back to normal. I can also sleep more than three or four hours at a time.

Now, of course, my hospital bills are rolling in and I’ve definitely hit the $4,000 deductible on my health insurance for the year. I fact, I somehow owe almost $4,500 to the hospital and various others involved in my treatment in spite of my deductible being $4K. I’m going to have to call Anthem and ask them how the fuck that’s possible. Thus stress over being in pain constantly has given way to stress over how to pay my hospital bill. Not sure how I’m going to do it, but I’ve been in spots like this before and have made it through.

Other than that, I’ve been working and sleeping a lot. I missed seeing the latest Star Wars movie in theaters and I’m more than a little bummed about that and I still haven’t seen Black Panther, but I hope to rectify that this coming weekend. Thanks to some help from my sister-in-law and her husband and my buddy Greg, we got the last of our boxes out of my mother-in-law’s basement. Now our basement is back to looking like this:

It really is amazing how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the years.

I’ve started digging through the boxes and a lot of them are full of books. So much so that I may need to buy a couple more bookcases if we decide to keep them all. We have to dig through all of this soon as we’re going to need the room to hold a going away party for my daughter, Courtney, who is packing up and moving to Phoenix, Arizona to take on a new job at her company that will be a big step up for her career.

Needless to say, plans to sit down and blog, vlog, and/or stream have not been working out for me lately. Not because I don’t have the time, but I’ve been lacking the motivation/inspiration. You hear all the time about how chronic pain is exhausting, but it’s another thing to actually experience it. Fortunately, I appear to be getting better and I’ve started actually exercising a bit (25 mins or so of walking a few times a week) in yet another attempt to improve my health and alleviate some of the issues I’m having. I’m hoping to buy a bicycle soon, but with the hospital bills coming in I’m not sure I can justify the cost.

So, I’m still here and I have every intention of getting back to posting more often. I can’t guarantee that I will, but, much like trying to get back into exercising, I’m going to try.

Les looks at stuff from Cards Against Humanity Saves America.

Holy shit! I did another vlog!

Feel free to leave feedback here or on my YouTube channel.

Happy Halloween 2017 and an update.

First up, here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween today!

Jack O'Lantern

This year’s classic take on the Jack O’Lantern on my front porch.

Second, it appears I am as bad at vlogging regularly as I am at blogging regularly. I’ve done a whole two videos and one of them is just me petting Cuddles. I really had planned on doing more, but I’m being overly critical of my own efforts and giving up. That said, I’ve learned a lot about editing videos and I’m probably going to try just picking a subject and talking about it instead of trying to cover multiple topics at once. Will make for shorter videos, but perhaps I need to ease into it.

I have made several gaming videos including the ones I put in my last post and I’m thinking I’d like to start streaming. Still trying to decide if I should stream on YouTube or Twitch. I have accounts on both platforms and I’d be starting off from zero either way so I suppose it doesn’t matter. One thing I need to develop is my ability to talk about what I’m doing as I play. I still get so caught up in playing that my only commentary tends to be me whinging a bit when I feel I died a cheap death. I’m also finding it difficult to monitor the stream on the same PC I’m streaming on so I may need to put together a secondary machine strictly for monitoring the stream at some point. I’m not sure how people who do this full time are doing it. I’m not even sure if I play anything compelling enough for people to want to watch.

This week sees the launch of Call of Duty: WWII and I’ve taken Friday off because A) I had the time to take and B) three day weekend and I was thinking of using that as a starting point for streaming. Of course the game unlocks at Midnight so if I stay up to play it right away then there’s likely not going to be anyone awake to watch the stream. If I wait until after a good nights sleep, well, it’s Friday and everyone will be working anyway so I doubt it makes any difference.

Spooky Lantern

Picked up a new Halloween themed lantern for the front yard.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been enjoying decorating the house for Halloween and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Also looking forward to handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters this evening. Being that I live in an actual house in an actual neighborhood and not an apartment complex for the first time in my adult life, I fully expect to see tons of kids. Or at least I hope so because we bought 3 bags of candy totalling over 700+ pieces that two diabetics really shouldn’t have access to if no one shows up at the door.

Also I did get a new Pixel 2 phone from Google. I’m very impressed with it so far and I’m debating trying to do a review of it either as a vlog or standard blog entry. Dunno that I have anything particularly profound to say about it.

So that’s it. Nothing major going on right now other than playing around with YouTube and video editing without producing much of anything in the process and getting ready for Halloween. What have you folks been up to?

Cat videos are always popular, right?

I’m not really counting this as a second vlog as it was originally just me testing out my new mic arm — yes I’ve already replaced the mic arm I’m using — as well as verifying that I’ve figured out how to get Windows 10’s camera app to ignore my webcam mic in favor of the Blue Yeti mic, but then cats happened. There’s really nothing else to this video. It’s just 4 minutes of Cuddles living up to his name.

I’m quite pleased that I’ve been able to get the Blue Yeti to work with the Windows camera app as this allows me to capture video at full 1080p at 30 frames per second directly to my PC instead of having to live stream through Google Hangouts. This also means that should I ever find video editing software that I can figure out and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that I could edit them before publishing.

It may take me a bit, but I’ll figure this shit out sooner or later.

Everyone loves my blog’s content and wants to help with it.

It seems like every day I get one to upwards of five emails from people who just love my blog and want to know if they can “collaborate” on a post or who feel they have a page that is way more informative than whatever thing I linked to in an entry written years ago and they just want me to know that if I’d be willing to link to them/let them write a post that they’d help me out by sharing my amazing website with everyone they’ve ever known in their entire lives.

Here’s an example from Tuesday the 14th with the links to their website removed:

Hi Les,

My name is Helen Sanders, I am the main editor at <website about health stuff redacted>

I just wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that we recently released a very comprehensive blog post on the benefits of cold showers.

While browsing your site, I noticed you linked to a piece from treehugger.com on the same topic from this page (https://stupidevilbastard.com/2016/07/apparently-showering-is-another-thing-im-doing-completely-wrong/).

I believe our piece is a lot more comprehensive, updated and quotes more trustable sources and I think it would be a great addition to your page.

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to our tens of thousands of social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Here is the link for your review:<link redacted>

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!

Helen

Right off the bat it’s clear that Helen hasn’t been browsing my site nor has she read the entry in question. If she had then it should’ve been clear that the last thing my entry was doing was promoting taking cold showers. If anything, it’s a humorous rant against the idea of taking cold showers regardless of how healthy it would make me because cold showers suck. As such, there’s little need for a more comprehensive or updated source of information on the benefits of cold showers. The attempt at humor is in no way reliant on the accuracy of the article I linked to.

At least Helen gave me some details on what she wants from me. Just this morning I got this exciting offer:

Hello,

My name is Rick and I would like to write a guest post for your website. I think your blog is missing one great story that would be of interest to your readers.

Send me a text if you’re interested.

Kind regards,

Rick Slot.

What could it be?? How can I allow my die-hard readers to miss out on a great story like… like whatever it is he wants to write about? How can I sleep at night not knowing what amazing thing I and my readers are missing out on?

Here’s another one from yesterday:

Hi there,

My name is Jenna, I am the main editor at <website about dogs>.

While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page: https://stupidevilbastard.com/2011/12/what-do-you-get-when-you-combine-cute-puppies-and-christmas/

My team actually just published a comprehensive article on <article about dogs redacted> which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.

You can check it out here: <website redacted>

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to more than 40 thousands of our social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!

Cheers,

Jenna D. Collier

Then there’s the ever helpful YOU GOT A BROKEN LINK IN AN ENTRY YOU WROTE 15 YEARS AGO SO LINK TO MY WEBSITE INSTEAD. Their concern for my site having broken links is nearly palpable:

Howdy Les,

I just finished reading your piece at https://stupidevilbastard.com/2002/12/dmca_abuses_continue_to_pile_up/, and I noticed you’re linking to a discontinued website here: TechDeals.net.

I just thought your readers might like to have an updated link.

A very similar resource can be found at <link to website redacted>. Might fit in as a good replacement, if I may say so myself 😀

Just a thought – keep up the great work and have an awesome day.

Cheers,

Angelica

Angelica here isn’t even offering to share my amazing article with her “umpteen tens of thousands, no, literally millions of visitors” for my trouble.

You need to step up your game, Angelica.

Shall we do one more? Sure, let’s do one more from two days ago:

Hi Les,

My name is John Rizzo and I run a one man PR/marketing agency. I recently found your blog and wanted to reach out on behalf of some of my clients.

Specifically, we are interested in guest posts and sponsored posts. Is this something you offer?

If so, could you please send over more information.

I appreciate your time and I hope the rest of your week goes well!

Thanks,

John Rizzo

You can tell John’s a professional as he’s using a standard Gmail account to send his inquiries. I’m sure all of those guest/sponsored posts would be of the highest quality.

To be honest, I’m surprised that I get a constant stream of emails like these considering the traffic to my blog isn’t what it used to be. The pages they want me to add their links to aren’t even in the top 10 of most popular threads on SEB. Most of them won’t even show up in the first few pages of a Google search for those topics. I can only assume they’re trying to gain page rank by getting as many places as possible to link to their websites.

Now usually I just delete these emails as they come in, but there’s a new trend as of late that has led to this rant: They won’t stop emailing me until I reply.

Allow me to illustrate with this one from March 13th:

Hi there,

I was just browsing Stupid Evil Bastard and saw you were interested in gaming from this post (https://stupidevilbastard.com/tag/ps3/), and so I thought you might also be interested in linking to a resource we put together on the health benefits of playing video games.

Here is a link for your review: [link redacted]

Our post is comprehensive, up to date, and quotes trustworthy sources to give our readers the best information available. We think it would be a great resource for your readers as well.

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to our tens of thousands of social followers to help you gain some more visibility in exchange.

Let me know what you think and thanks for your consideration!

Regards,

Danielle

Damn, but that sounds very familiar. Almost like Danielle and Helen from up top use the same automated bot to send those emails out. I love that Danielle here doesn’t even link to a specific entry, but to the category tag for posts about the PS3.

Anyway, I deleted the email and went about my business. Three days later I get this:

Hi ,

I just wanted to follow up and see what you thought of linking to our site on your blog.

Just double checking you received our previous email.

Looking forward to sharing some of your content across our social following, let us know what you think.

Regards,

Danielle

Once again I deleted it. Much like Jesus, three days later she was back again:

Hi,

I just wanted to follow up on my previous email and hear your thoughts on linking to us in one of your blog posts.

We would be happy to share your blog post across our thousands of social followers in return.

Let me know what you think by shooting me a quick reply.

Regards,

Danielle

So too did Helen, from the first example up top, continue to pester me:

On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 7:00 AM “Helen Sanders” wrote:
Hi there,

I understand you are a busy person and your time is valuable but did you have some time to look at my last email? (see above).

I’d love to collaborate with your site!

Many Thanks,

Helen

 

On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:00 AM, Helen Sanders wrote:
Hi there,

I will give this one last shot, did you have time to review my proposal? I’d be really excited to collaborate with you.

Best,
Helen

These fuckers can’t seem to take a hint.

So today I replied to Helen with a very simple “no thanks” — that was literally all the email said outside of “Helen” and “Les” — and apparently that just wasn’t good enough for Helen. Almost as soon as I sent her my reply this morning I got this back:

Hi Les,

Thanks for taking the time out to get back to me.

I was just wondering if you had any feedback on why you weren’t interested so that I can take it on board while promoting my work in the future.

I really appreciate the opinions of the people I’m reaching out to, so anything I can take on board is appreciated 🙂

Thanks

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you already know that I don’t deal with annoyances all that well and I was pretty proud of myself for limiting my first reply to Helen with just a “no thanks” and not some profanity laced tirade. Helen, as I said previously, hasn’t really read my blog. My response to this latest missive strains to stay civil with her and I think I just barely managed it:

Helen,

I’m getting roughly 3 to 4 of these offers every single day for the past few years. I’m surprised so many people want to associate their products with a site with the name Stupid Evil Bastard. I literally just told another person making this sort of offer “no thanks” before typing up this reply. [Editor’s Note: That would’ve been Rick’s offer of a great entry of some unspecified type that I reproduced above.] Everyone loves my content and wants to write for my blog except that it’s clear based on the couple of folks I did entertain the thought with that this is entirely for your benefit to drive traffic to your site and/or promote your product. Nine times out of ten the topic of whatever someone wants to write about for my blog has little to nothing to do with what my blog is about (mainly, things that catch my attention) or even the page they claim they saw that inspired them to contact me. It’s pretty clear these requests are ads disguised as posts. One you probably don’t wish to pay me for or, if you do, the amount is hardly worth considering. I’m often told to consider the extra “exposure” the ad-post will generate for my blog as though I needed more exposure. In short, it’s a pretty one-sided equation that benefits you more than me.

I’ve been blogging for 16 years now. For awhile, I accepted guest posts from my regular readers who wanted to participate in the community I’d managed to build up. None of those guest entries were ever anything close to an ad or an attempt to drive traffic someplace else. I’m not as active as I once was and my readership is down to the most loyal of regulars. I’m fine with that. It was never about being at the top of the search results or making a ton of money. It was a place for me to express myself for those who were interested. Nothing more. Needless to say, my blog is a deeply personal thing to me. Frankly, the number of people who wish to exploit it for their own gain is more than a little annoying.

Sincerely,

Les Jenkins

P.S. I’m probably going to blog this.

I’ve not heard back from Helen. With any luck this is enough of a hint for her to not bother sending a reply. It annoys me that I am going to have to respond to each and every one of these offers with “no thanks” as they come in or put up with an endless stream of WHY HAVEN’T YOU REPLIED TO MY AWESOME OFFER???

So let me just say this right here and now: Dear people who think it’d be a great idea if I helped you to promote your website/product at no cost to you. Don’t bother sending me your sales pitch because it’s not going to happen. At least, not unless you’re willing to toss me some serious greenbacks. I don’t need “tens of thousands” of people to see my blog, but I would be happy to sell out for “tens of thousands” of dollars. This would be particularly handy right now as I’m in the process of buying a house and could use the extra cash.

So, once again just to be clear, I don’t need your exposure, but I would take your cash as long as it’s substantial. I doubt any of you will be making such an offer anytime soon so you may as well not waste the electrons it would take to send me an email.

Sincerely,
Me

UPDATE: Holy Christ on a cracker! I’ve not even PUBLISHED this entry yet and Rick Slot — of the “I wanna write a guest post, let me know if you’re interested” I quoted above to which I had replied simply “I am not” — has just replied with the following:

Hello, Les

Thank you for the reply. Do you post sponsored articles?

Best wishes,
Rick

Seriously, what does it take for these people to understand the concept of “no”?  I’m half-tempted to send him a dictionary definition, but perhaps I’ll just send the link to this entry. Maybe he’ll offer me tens of thousands of dollars to let him write a guest post. Also, maybe I’ll be made Queen of England. Probably about equal chances of both, right?

Oh, hey!

So it appears I’ve not posted anything since the first. My apologies, but I’ve been busy figuring out how I might purchase my first house. Our apartment lease will be up at the end of May and I’ll be turning 50 in August (which just blows my mind) and I’m thinking if I don’t pull this off now it’s never going to happen. The good news is, I think I might have figured out a way to do it this time.

Of course, that’s not all I’ve been doing. I’ve also been trying to wrap my head around how crazy things are getting now that Donald Trump has become President. It’s a sort of an embarrassment of riches in that there are so many things to talk about with regard to his Holy Hairness that I can’t decide where to start and so I end up playing Call of Duty instead.

So this is basically a quick update to say I’m still here and I still plan to try and post more often even though I’m failing at that ambition so far. I did get a new webcam for Christmas that I plan to use for vlogging and/or game streaming in the not too distant future. I also hope to add in a Blue Snowball condenser mic soon for better audio quality.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of a cat toy I saw at Meijer the other day that was oddly familiar:

Does anyone under 45 even know who this is these days?