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Times Internet’s lifestyle websites are offline in Europe due to GDPR non-compliance

Times Internet’s Lifestyle division websites – Indiatimes.com, MensXP, iDiva, WhatsHot – are currently unavailable in Europe. It is unclear since when the websites have been down. We have reached out to Times Internet about this and will update this when we hear from them.

The company took down the websites since some of its modules were non compliant with GDPR, Angad Bhatia, the COO of IndiaTimes & Lifestyle brands at Times Internet, told MediaNama. “We want to ensure that we are compliant with all the recommendations of the GDPR,” Bhatia said, explaining that the company is self-regulating to ensure compliance.

Bhatia added that it wasn’t sure when the websites would go back live in Europe since it was a secondary market, and “not really a focus.” He said that the websites’ focus for its brand and content was India. Times Internet is working with Ernst & Young as Indiatimes Lifestyle Network’s GDPR compliance auditor.

Requirements under the GDPR

The GDPR came into effect in May 2018 and laid out how companies could use the personal information of its customers, gave greater protection and control to users/customers, and boosted their right over their data.

Under the GDPR effect, the websites would have to meet several requirements such as disclosing to users what data the company is collecting about them, how the company will process or use that data, among many others.

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Under the GDPR, personal data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently, and must be collected only for legitimate purposes. The data must also be stored only as long is necessary and must be processed with appropriate security.

Hotstar’s UK launch with an expanded privacy policy

Last September, Hotstar launched in the United Kingdom, with pricing at £11.99/month (Rs 1,225). Hotstar’s privacy policy in the UK is significantly bigger from what it follows in North America and India, due to the Data Protection Act, 2018, the UK’s implementation of Europe’s GDPR. The policy breaks down, in detail, what information Hotstar collects from customers in Britain, and how they deal with requests to restrict automated processing of personal data.

Interestingly, if users want to restrict Hotstar from processing their personal data, the service will simply terminate their subscription. In comparison, Netflix’s implementation of that GDPR rule is giving users the option to opt out of promotional messages and push notifications. Hotstar also gives users the right to data portability and erasure, which users will have to email the company to take advantage of.

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MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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