1. Guiding principles
Our approach to data privacy is minimalist and transparent.
We want you to know how we handle your information. This page explains our principles in simple language alongside excerpts from the relevant legal texts.
As a matter of principle, we consider data privacy to be a fight worth fighting in the information age. We stand with non-profit organizations working to strengthen digital rights around the world. To learn more about online privacy in general, we recommend you head over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and use their tips and tools for a better browsing experience. (Note: We are not affiliated with EFF.)
1.1. No shortcuts around your privacy
We will never ask you to turn off your ad blocker, disable your privacy plugins, or take any other action that would compromise or circumvent your privacy rights. If such actions are deemed necessary for technical reasons, we will seek your permission first.
1.2. Legal basis
Our policies are designed for compliance with German and European privacy laws, and specifically:
2. Anonymous by default
GDPR Article 5 (1): “Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals.”
Anyone can access the public pages on GermanBureau.com without providing personal information. We make no attempt to identify individual visitors to our website without their express consent.
2.1. What does “anonymous” mean, exactly?
The simple act of visiting our website — or any website — reveals a certain amount of information about you. This notably includes your IP address and general geographic location, which device and browser you’re using, your internet service provider, and a host of other metrics that aren’t directly linked to your person but may reveal an identifying pattern.
Malicious actors can use this information to identify and track unique visitors using a technique called fingerprinting. This is not something we will ever do! We’ll say it again: For our part, we make no effort whatsoever to piece together the data points of individual visitors in an effort to identify them or harvest their personal data.
2.2. Third-party analytics
We only collect anonymous, aggregate data on our site’s traffic, and we never track visitors beyond our own website and affiliated pages.
At GermanBureau.com we analyze our web traffic using Google Analytics, a third-party tool provided by the US tech giant Google Inc. (“Google”). Any information you have made public on Google-affiliated sites may also be transferred to us or processed on our behalf for analytics and marketing.
3. Interacting with our site
GDPR Article 5 (2): “Personal data shall be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes.”
Users may voluntarily decide to interact with the site in ways that could reveal personal information: for example, when a visitor agrees to provide their name and email address to get in touch with us, or when someone enters a service agreement by hiring our services.
Any personal information you provide to us via GermanBureau.com (or by any other means) is stored in our databases for the sole purpose of processing your specific query. This could be a contact request, podcast subscription, or any other user-initiated service. We will never sell, rent, swap, or otherwise authorize a third party to exploit your personal information without prior consent.
3.1. Social media
We may choose to maintain profiles on social media sites where users can interact with us. These platforms require you to sign in with an account and agree to terms that are typically quite permissive with your personal information.
However, you do have some control over the data you share and what happens to it. Each platform offers a privacy center where you can tweak your settings, and we encourage you to set these permissions according to your own needs and beliefs.
3.3. Third-party cookies
Although GermanBureau.com contains no third-party advertising, analytical tools such as Google Analytics may use third-party cookies for the purpose of traffic evaluation. Any information gathered through cookies may be stored on a Google server located in the United States of America or anywhere else in the world where Google decides to store its data.
Google may use this information to analyze your usage of our site, create reports on related online traffic patterns for us, and provide its own services based on aggregate data collected from millions of users. Google may also transfer this information to third parties under applicable law for the purpose of further processing on behalf of Google.
4. We only ask for what we need
GDPR Article 5 (3): “Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.”
If we need your information, we ask for it first. We have put automatic protocols in place to ensure that we process your data according to your stated preferences.
If you choose to contact us by email, phone, or any other means, we can only assume you’re fine with us storing your contact information for a limited period of time so that we can communicate with you. If we need additional permissions, we’ll ask first.
5. You control your data
GDPR Article 5 (4): “Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay.
To view, update, or delete the information you’ve shared with us, please send us a short message and tell us what to do with your personal data. At your request, we can modify or remove individual portions of the data we have on you, or you can ask us to delete the entire data set.
Please note that any emails or messages you send us are retained for archival purposes indefinitely or for the maximum amount of time allowed by law. If for some reason you’d like to remove all traces of your interactions with us, just let us know and we’ll do what we can.
There are some rare and clearly defined instances in which we are required to keep your data without consent — for example, if we get a legitimate court order from law enforcement. In the unlikely scenario that we must retain your data for reasons other than our own, we will inform you as permitted by law.
Stay safe out there!
5.2. Verifying your identity
In general, we reserve the right to verify your identity whenever someone requests a change in your data. This simple security measure acts as a safeguard against unauthorized access, which is good for you and helps us comply with the law.
In the future, we will be offering web-based user controls for you to more easily manage your data on our site. We ask for your patience while we develop an adequate technical solution.
6. You decide how long we keep your data
GDPR Article 5 (5): “Personal data shall be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals.”
Even with your consent, we cannot store your information forever. Here the law demands that we be a little more specific. There are generally two options for storing your information with us:
- Under our limited data retention policy, your information is automatically deleted after a specified time unless you renew your consent. Retention periods are clearly stated on each consent form (e.g., next to the appropriate checkbox).
- Under our unlimited retention policy, we store your data for the maximum amount of time allowed by law. This makes sense for returning customers and other long-term commitments, although there is currently no feature on GermanBureau.com that requires unlimited retention per se.
Either way, your options are explained clearly at the time of each request.
6.1. Special circumstances
7. How we protect your data
GDPR Article 5 (6): “Personal data shall be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
Even the most low-traffic site is subject to daily intrusion attempts by automated bots, fake crawlers, impostors, and other shady online actors. That’s just how the internet works. We employ several trusted plugins to protect our website and its visitors from spam and malicious attacks. It’s probably unwise to share too many details, so just rest assured that we’re doing everything in our power to keep your data safe.
In general, it must be said that the transfer of information over the internet comes with inherent security risks. For this reason, GermanBureau.com is unable to guarantee unconditional protection from unauthorized access by third parties. To the best of our abilities, we have taken reasonable steps to protect the privacy rights and digital safety of our online visitors.
7.1. Community-powered security
GermanBureau.com is powered by WordPress, and we rely on community programmers who have developed powerful open-source security tools that anyone can use. These professional-grade products are typically licensed to individuals and small businesses at low cost or free of charge. As such, we are endlessly grateful for the community resources that make this entire website possible (or at least affordable).
8. Questions and feedback
We will soon create a new page with online privacy controls for our visitors. Until then, to withdraw your consent simply close all instances of GermanBureau.com on your device and clear your browser cache including cookies. Please note that some data may be retained for a short period of time as your withdrawal is processed server-side. Once the data has been cleared from your device, you’ll be treated as a new visitor if you decide to revisit our site.