What is the GDPR and why does it concern you?
The European Union (EU) introduced a landmark regulation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR in short) on the 25th of May, 2018.
The goal of GDPR is to give EU residents drastic improvements to their privacy rights and control over their personal data, and to protect them from privacy breaches and leaks.
Every organisation that handles, markets or tracks the personal data of EU residents is concerned, even if they are not based in Europe. In the case of software companies which typically sell their products globally, this means that this regulation applies to everyone, no matter where they are based.
There are strong penalties in place for non-compliance: up to €20m or 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is higher.
Making sure we were compliant, and in turn that the personal data of the customers buying your products was treated correctly, whilst continuing to provide a great buyer experience has been an important focus for us.
Here are the main concepts of the GDPR:
Personal data requires lawful processing
This means that you shouldn’t buy email lists where you don’t know how consent was acquired, and we can’t enable newsletters to buyers if we don’t know whether they have consented to them.
Buyers should specify exactly what communications they want to receive from you
This means that the language explaining how you will contact them needs to be very clear and respect certain rules - leading to fewer unsubscribes and spam reports.
Buyers will have a right to transparency around the collection and processing of their data
This means that they will be able to ask us for the data we store on them, and receive it in a simple format.
Buyers can request the right to be forgotten
This means that if they ask us, we will remove all their personal data - letting you focus on the best buyers.
Implementing all of this could be complex (just ask our in-house GDPR experts who have been looking into its correct application!). We rolled out changes to ensure that it was simple and straightforward for you.
How we operate as a merchant of record
We act on your behalf as what is called a merchant of record (MOR).
From a legal point of view, this means that we are the reseller of your software. Most importantly, this also means that we assume responsibility for both compliance with local laws and regulations and handling of taxes on your behalf. We have to behave as if we had created the software ourselves.
Contracting with MOR gives considerable benefits to you, because you don’t need to do anything when it comes to dealing with compliance and taxes anywhere in the world: we handle everything for you automatically as part of our normal service. For more information, read our detailed explanation.
When it comes to GDPR, it means that when someone buys one of your products they are in fact contracting with us. Their personal data is protected under the GDPR, and we need a lawful reason to pass that data to you.
How we handle buyer data
We collect buyer data during our checkout process for payment processing and order fulfilment purposes. These include name, location, contact details, and billing information.
The personal data provided to us is protected under the GDPR. Under the Merchant of Record model, the buyer is actually contracting with us rather than the seller, and this means we require a lawful reason to pass that data on to you. GDPR gives us two applicable scenarios that allow us to pass the data on, legitimate interest , and consent .
Paddle and our sellers have a legitimate interest to use buyer provided data for product fulfilment, order processing, fraud prevention, and product support. We will pass buyer data to sellers to enable these use cases, and this does not require additional consent from the buyer. It is important that sellers only use buyer data for those scenarios, or they will not be compliant with the GDPR. Our seller terms and conditions were also updated to reflect these obligations.
The buyer can give also us explicit consent to be able to pass information on to you for reasons not covered by legitimate interests. The primary use case for our sellers is to collect explicit consent for marketing. We made product changes to make this simple, clear, and easy.
Data transfer and sharing
Rules for transferring data outside of the EU haven’t actually changed under GDPR, and whilst we process data outside of the EU, we do so in a way which is fully compliant with EU law.
During our checkout process buyer data is securely shared with our payment providers. These providers are both GDPR and PCI DSS compliant. Sharing is necessary to facilitate the payment process. In addition, anonymised data is also shared with a number of GDPR compliant fraud monitoring platforms.
Our platform implements industry best practices for data security, including encryption at rest and in transit, access control, and auditing. Keeping buyer data private and secure is extremely important to us at Paddle.
Cookies and tracking
We use a small number of GDPR compliant tracking and monitoring platforms. These services use a combination of temporary and long lived cookies to be able to identify unique user journeys. These services are used internally only for platform diagnostics and product improvements.
The data collected is not shared with any outside parties, nor is used for any activities which would require further GDPR compliance or an opt-out. They are necessary to ensure the reliable operation of our platform.
How sellers can access buyer data
As a software business, you need to ensure on your side that you adhere to the GDPR regulation. Our product make this as easy as possible, and a friendly experience for both sellers and buyers.
- There are a number of GDPR Legitimate Interests that allow us to continue passing buyer data to you, the seller, without explicit consent. These include order fulfilment, order and product support, but exclude marketing. It is your obligation to only use buyer information for those interests, unless further consent is given for marketing.
- We provide a simple way for you to additionally collect marketing consent during the checkout flow. We do this using GDPR compliant language permitting marketing updates and offers in the future. We will pass this consent information back to you in our Dashboard and APIs.
- Buyers who previously opted-in to marketing consent, but did so in a manner which was not GDPR compliant (such as having the confirmation checkbox automatically checked) had their marketing consent removed until they opt-in again.
For more information on these and the product changes we made as part of GDPR, read our GDPR announcement.