GDPR Is An Asset

The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is a regulation in European law which essentially defines how a user’s personal information must be handled. If a company serves Europeans and it does not follow these regulations, it is at risk for receiving hefty fines.

GDPR itself seems to catch a lot of negative attention within the developer community. I must say, my initial reactions were mostly negative as well. Won’t these regulations just add more friction when launching small projects? How do I know that I’m compliant? Is my project worth the risk?

Bear in mind, I reside in Paris, and Young Dynasty is a French company. I had to make sure that Emporter was GDPR compliant at launch. I did not have the luxury of rolling out other territories while deferring the launch in Europe to address potential compliance issues.

The funny thing is, though, if I tried to explain my frustration with anyone outside of tech, I was often met with a blank stare. Why wouldn’t a company protect their user’s data? If a company is storing my data, it’s not theirs to keep. Aren’t all professionals subject to regulations? What makes tech so special?

These rhetorical questions made me realize something so obvious: GDPR compliance will help me establish trust with users. This is particularly important for a small company, such as mine, wishing to attract new customers.

Emporter creates a public, secure URL which can be used to access a folder or server on a Mac. There’s a certain level of trust that needs to be established in order for people to use it, in terms of privacy and security.

GDPR compliance itself does not mean that an app respects your privacy, but it allows the opportunity to provide confidence that its author cares. And, because I actually do care, Emporter does not collect or store user data. To address security concerns, I distribute it within the Mac App Store because its applications are reviewed, signed, and only run within a sandboxed environment.

In the end, I worked closely with my friend Camille Caffiot on the Privacy Policy to make sure I was compliant. It did cost more money than using a premade policy or template, but establishing trust and protecting myself in terms of liability is so important that it was absolutely worth every centime.

While perhaps there is more friction launching certain kinds of projects now, it’s because the tech industry is maturing. As a developer, I think my negativity was largely due to the fact that I became spoiled.