JOM, Vol. 70, No. 7, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11837-018-2954-5 Ó 2018 The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society LQWKHÀQDODQDO\VLV “I would like to know if anyone has taken steps to comply with European Union’s Volume 70 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on May 25, 2018? We have members in those countries and would like to know what was done or Number 7 is being done for being in compliance.” —Question posted to an association management discussion board July 2018 About two years ago, the European Parliament and Council established the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short. The law went into effect in the spring of this year, and it regulates how organizations handle the personal data of people living within the European Union (EU). Considering the torrent of news about how user data can be abused (I’m not “liking” you on this count, Facebook), I can’t really argue with any government adopting reasonable safeguards to ensure that its citizens are protected from data shenanigans and misuse. The many GDPR requirements include securing the consent of individuals for data processing (think mass e-mailings), employing diligence in handling user data, and providing QRWL¿FDWLRQVRIGDWDEUHDFKHV The adoption of the GDPR is big news in the association management community, especially for professional societies like TMS that have members in the European Union. Even though TMS is headquartered in the United States, we are subject to compliance with the GDPR. Many association leaders have confusion over who is required to comply with the GDPR and James J. Robinson have expressed increasingly urgent wonderment via do-we-really-have-to-do-that questions. Executive Director Among the potential showstoppers within the association world is the idea that you cannot send a mass e-mail to a client, prospect, or member within the EU unless that individual has consciously opted-in for receipt of e-mail from said association. That’s a scary proposition— WKHYDVWPDMRULW\RIPHRZLQJWRFRVWPDQDJHPHQWDQGHI¿FLHQF\ PEHUFRPPXQLFDWLRQVRFFXU via e-mail. If an EU member does not opt-in, he or she will no longer receive the preponderance of communication sent by TMS. The opted-out member gets no newsletter, no call for papers, QRPHPEHUVKLSEHQH¿WLQIRUPDQRDOHUWWRMRXUQDODYDLODELOLW\ RSUHYHQWD7WLRQHWFHWF “If an EU member blackout of mass communication with EU members, TMS undertook work to not only comply with the GDPR, but to also contact our EU constituents with the exhortation to proactively does not opt-in, update their TMS member records for opt-in of TMS e-communications. You may have received one of the messages with the subject line, “Don’t Miss Out on he or she will no Important TMS Membership Information.” The message then instructs the recipient on longer receive the updating communication preferences via the TMS web site, concluding with, “We respect your privacy and assure you that TMS does not sell or share your contact information or online user preponderance 706FRPPXQGDWDSUR¿OHZLWKWKLUGSDUWLHV%\RSWLQJWRUHFHLYH LFDWLRQV\RXDUHFRQ¿UPLQJ that we can still send you news and updates on society events and initiatives, membership of communication opportunities, and other activities important to the minerals, metals, and materials community. You are always free to further update your subscription preferences to only receive mailings sent by TMS.” that interest you or opt-out of all messages at any time.” If you received the e-mail but didn’t act, you can still visit the TMS web site to update your member record. Otherwise, you will effectively only be seeing JOM each month as your message bearer from TMS. Is compliance with the GDPR easy? No; it cost a lot of staff time and other resources to measure up, and the effort is ongoing. Could we get away with not complying since we are not brick-and-mortar in Europe? I don’t know because there’s no room at TMS headquarters to even conduct the thought exercise toward answering such a question. The point is moot legally and ethically. We’re not in the business of trying to nuance our way around what is right and what is wrong. After all, the stated TMS vision is to be, “the professional society of choice for the worldwide minerals, metals, and materials community.” An organization does not earn and hold the respect of the world community by selectively ignoring the laws and regulations that it does not like. We’ll take the higher road. Our members would expect nothing less of their professional society.
JOM – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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