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The Complete Guide to GDPR Email Disclaimers

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What is GDPR?

Known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679, this European Union privacy law came into effect on 25 May 2018. Dubbed one of the most comprehensive data privacy standards to date, GDPR affects any company that processes the personal data of European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens. This is regardless of where the company is based. This regulation essentially brings order to what was previously a patchwork of various privacy laws enacted by the 27 EU member states.

Creating a GDPR email disclaimer

The main goals of GDPR are to provide greater privacy rights to individuals, protect personal information, and increase organizational accountability for data breaches. With potential fines of up to four percent of a company’s global revenues or 20 million EUR, GDPR has a lot of power behind it.

In its first year alone, 144,376 GDRP complaints were made. These were complaints submitted by any person who felt that their privacy had been impacted. One of the most significant fines levied on a company came in January 2019 when French regulators landed Google a 50 million EUR fine. This was for not correctly telling users how their data was being used for targeted advertising.

The need for a GDPR email disclaimer

Unlike other legislation like HIPAA or CASL, GDPR does not have any set rules surrounding using disclaimers in emails. Employee emails are often transactional, implying a business relationship, so won’t fall foul of breaching the law. Also, anyone who signs up for a B2B service automatically opts in to receive email communications due to its business focus. However, having a GDPR email disclaimer can help provide extra reassurance to recipients, building more trust in your brand.

Your GDPR email signature disclaimer is the perfect location to tell recipients that your company has reached full GDPR compliance. By implementing some simple text and adding a link to your privacy policy, you can show recipients the steps your organization has taken to ensure that personal data is processed per the law. The content of this privacy policy should be written in plain language. This makes it easy for recipients to understand how you comply with GDPR.

The importance of complying with GDPR unsubscribe rules

At the same time, adding an unsubscribe link to your GDPR email disclaimer makes it easy for recipients to remove themselves from your mailing lists. As an essential aspect of GDPR is consent, companies must provide a simple way for recipients to opt-out of corporate communications. This is particularly important if you operate in the B2C space.

GDPR unsubscribe rules state that all emails should offer a straightforward way for recipients to remove themselves from your data list or change their consent status. GDPR does not specify how to deploy an unsubscribe link, only that it be easy to use.

However, it’s recommended that you don’t add an unsubscribe link to every email your company sends. GDPR unsubscribe rules do not apply to emails where there is implied consent.

Examples would include:

  • Information or a quote requested explicitly by a customer
  • Part of an existing commercial transaction, i.e., warranties, safety information, or other factual information about memberships, loans, accounts, etc.
  • Employment information or benefit plans

If you add an unsubscribe link to emails of this kind, the recipient could assume they have been subscribed to communications without consent. This could then lead to a GDPR violation complaint being levied against you. So, follow GDPR unsubscribe rules sensibly to comply with the regulation but don’t negatively impact your business email communications.

Learn more by reviewing The Top 5 Examples of GDPR Email Disclaimers

Creating your new GDPR email disclaimer

You can add your GDPR email disclaimer directly into your employees’ email clients, such as Outlook or Gmail. It’s quick and easy to do. However, if you want to ensure everyone in your company uses the same disclaimer text, this becomes more difficult.

You will have to rely on each user copying and pasting the content into their email client. On the other hand, you may have to ask your IT department to visit everyone’s desk individually. Even after all that, there are no guarantees people won’t delete the disclaimer or modify the text.

Instead, many companies opt to “stamp” every email with an appropriate disclaimer. They do this by using Transport Rules in Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) and Microsoft Exchange Server or the Append Footer setting in G Suite (now Google Workspace). This action occurs after someone sends an email, so the text is automatically added.

However, your GDPR email disclaimer will end up stacking at the bottom of message chains, potentially flooding conversations. Inevitably, what seems like a simple task will lead to an increased workflow for your IT personnel.

Centrally managing GDPR email disclaimers

So, what’s the best way to efficiently manage a GDRR email disclaimer without causing your IT department undue stress?

Email signature software from Exclaimer ensures all users the most consistent, professional, and legally compliant email disclaimers. That includes emails sent from mobiles, Macs, and automated CRM systems.

  • Get total control over GDPR email disclaimers.
  • Automatically place email disclaimers on all outgoing messages.
  • Create specific versions for replies and internal purposes.
  • Make massive cost savings by reducing the load on staff.
  • Apply disclaimer updates instantly with a single click.

Learn more about using email signature software from Exclaimer within your company and get a free trial today.

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