Hi everyone. In this post I address a question that certain people ask sometimes. The people that ask this question are people who are using an online course creation and delivery platform (like Mastermind.com, Kajabi, Thinkific, Teachable, etc), as opposed to doing everything on their own website.
The question is this:
“Doesn’t the course platform take care of privacy issues for me?”
The short answer is, no, they do not, and cannot do that for you. To give some examples:
Mastermind.com has a Data Protection Addendum which applies “if you and/or your end users are located in the European Union or United Kingdom”. In this context, it states:
“Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, when Subscriber [i.e., a course creator] processes personal data as a controller pursuant to the terms of the DPA, MasterMind and Subscriber process personal data as independent controllers. Each controller is solely responsible for its own obligations as a controller, as required under the applicable data privacy law.”
Now, if you’re not familiar with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then that may sound like legal gobbledegook. The key point for present purposes is that the reference to you being an “independent controller” means you are required to comply with the GDPR’s privacy-related disclosure requirements in relation to the personal information about end users that you collect. Mastermind.com does not do this for you. It does it for itself, but not for you. The same conclusion applies to the application of privacy laws in other countries that require you to tell people certain things when you collect personal information from them.
So what’s the main takeaway from all this? It’s that course creators using course platforms will often be required by the privacy laws that apply to them to post their own privacy statements. They cannot rely on the platform providers doing this for them.
I talk about privacy statements in detail in my Online Courses and Legal Stuff course, and provide access to a privacy statement builder that helps you create your own. The builder takes into account key privacy laws in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.