WordPress 4.9.6, the Privacy Features Release

Today, the team of open source developers at WordPress have released WordPress version 4.9.6. This release includes many new privacy centric features which are so important, we’re writing this post just to cover them briefly. If you want to read all of the details please read the official announcement here.

For Pagely customers, the release will be rolled out to your sites automatically in the next few days. This is a serious enough release that we would like our customers to have access to the new privacy related features with as much time before the GDPR deadline as possible. There should be no issues, but if you notice anything off on your site in the next few days you can reach out to our cheerful support team for assistance and they will be glad to help get the problem solved.

Let’s get into some of the neat new privacy centric features in 4.9.6

The WordPress GDPR-Compliance team has been working diligently for months to address the stringent concerns detailed in the GDPR law, creating new features, assigning task-forces, quashing bugs, and documentation are nary the half of what I’ve seen them up to in Slack and on Trac. Some of the features added will greatly assist WordPress site owners who just want to be compliant with the new EU privacy regulations, but don’t have a ton of time to address every concern in the monolithic law by themselves.

For developers, designers and polyglots

Are you a plugin developer? Now you can easily self-report any possible private data your plugin collects on a site to the WP install, these helper functions and how to be a privacy positive developer here: https://developer.wordpress.org/plugins/privacy/

Are you a theme developer/designer? Check out the new functions available to you that allow you to create opt-in fields, and link to the site’s privacy policy without any guesswork. More details here: https://make.wordpress.org/core/2018/05/17/changes-that-affect-theme-authors-in-wordpress-4-9-6/

Are you a polyglot? Then you may be able to help the WP Polyglots team with translations! Do that here: https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/

New features

In brief, here are some of the top privacy features that have been added in 4.9.6

  • Add a new privacy tools page to the wp-admin panel.
  • Add helper functions for plugins to manage private data.
  • Add a tool to help users generate privacy policies for their site.
  • Add privacy tools/functions for data export, erasure, etc..
  • Add tools to anonymize private data collected.

These features which are mostly behind the scenes and new additions to your site’s wp-admin pages, will assist you immensely with addressing privacy requests from your site’s users and commenters.

If a user wishes to request a copy of all of the comments made on your site, the new export feature makes it easy to export this data.

If that same user decides “I would like to exercise my right to be forgotten, please remove my personal data from your site”, then you need not fear having to track down all of their posts and manually removing or anonymizing them, the privacy tools section in your wp-admin page will allow you to do so quickly and efficiently.

Who wants to spend endless days and nights wracking their head over writing out a comprehensive privacy policy detailing every bit of private/personal data you collect and detailing all of this in a privacy policy? Well 4.9.6 streamlines that process with a privacy policy page editor which provides you with suggested verbiage and import details for plugins that are self-reporting private data they collect.

You can breath a sigh of relief that the GDPR-Compliance and Open Source developers at WordPress have put in the enormous effort on your behalf so that WordPress site owners can more easily address and respect the privacy of the users of their site. I take my hat off to these volunteers, and request you remember to buy them a drink (beer, tea, coffee, or other) if you run into one of them at one of your local WordCamps or an international one like the upcoming WordCamp Europe in Belgrade Serbia.

Here’s how we’re treating GDPR-Compliance at Pagely

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