Smartmessages.net Privacy Policy

This is our general privacy policy; each account holder has their own more specific version of this document.

Who does what?

Synchromedia Limited (the creator of Smartmessages.net, "We", "us") is a data controller for Smartmessages.net account holders, and is also a data processor for those account holders, handling mailing list subscriber data on their behalf.

Privacy policy for Smartmessages.net account holders.

If you have a Smartmessages.net account, this is you. Synchromedia Limited is your data controller, you are bound by Smartmessages.net terms and conditions, and also have privacy rights as described below.

Privacy policy for Smartmessages.net list subscribers.

If you subscribe to a mailing list belonging to a Smartmessages.net account holder, this is you. Hi 👋! The account holder is your data controller, and is in charge of your privacy. We act as a data processor for account holders, so much of what we do for them is directly relevant to you. Account holders use their Smartmessages.net account to manage the mailing lists that you can join. Account holders may also provide your data to other services (we do not); you will need to refer to their own privacy policy for further details.

When do we collect data?

We collect subscribers personal data for our account holders when subscribers subscribe to mailing lists. We may also be given subscriber data by account holders, for example when they upload their mailing lists. Account holders can choose to have us collect message open and click data from actions performed by subscribers, if their browser settings allow us to (see Do Not Track)

We collect data on account holders when they sign up for a Smartmessages.net account, and use it to run their account, inform them of changes, deal with billing, system updates, etc.

What data is collected?

We collect email addresses and any other personal data that subscribers choose to provide. We must be able to prove opt-in status of subscriptions, so we record IP addresses, referrer URLs, and user agent strings when subscribers confirm subscriptions to enable us to do that.

Account holders need to provide us with full contact information as we need to be able to provide that information to subscribers.

IP addresses are logged where we need to be able to protect against abuse, trace system problems, or defend against attackers, for example in account logins or password resets.

Why do we process data?

We are contracted to provide mailing list services to account holders, so we process subscriber data for them on the basis of contractual necessity. The overall basis for processing subscriber data lies between the subscriber and the account holder, and is most often based on consent or legitimate interest (for example if a subscriber is the account holder's customer), though there may be other grounds; refer to the account holder's privacy policy for details.

We process data relating to account holders on the basis of legitimate interest; they are our customers, and we need to store and process their data in order to do what they are paying us to do, and to help them uphold up their responsibilities as data controllers.

Privacy rights

Subject Access Requests

The right for subscribers to have access to their personal data lies with account holder(s), however, as their data processor, we provide a way for subscribers to access, amend, or delete personal data as part of our contract with them. Data about a subscriber may be stored by more than one Smartmessages.net account holder, and the right of access extends to all of them. Subscribers can access all of their personal data via our subscriber data access portal.

Data portability

Individual subscriber data can be exported in a machine-readable format (usually CSV) from our subscriber data access portal so that you can provide it to another service, or to inspect it yourself.

Complaints

Subscribers and account holders may object to our use of personal data in several ways (in order of convenience):

  • Use our unsubscribe links - they really work!
  • Make use of our subscriber data access portal to amend or delete personal data.
  • Ask us at privacy@smartmessages.net to deal with your complaint.
  • Ask the account holder (the data controller) to deal with the complaint (their contact details appear on every interaction subscribers have with them via Smartmessages.net).
  • Ask the UK Information Commissioner's Office (the applicable supervisory authority) to intervene on your behalf.

Data adequacy

The only information we need from subscribers is an email address, and so that is the only data that we require when subscribing to a mailing list. Subscribers are free to provide more personal data, and there may be opportunities for them to do so, but it is entirely voluntary.

When sending email for marketing purposes, the responsible data controller must be clearly identified, so the account holder's contact details are made available whenever subscribers interact with us, such as when subscribing to a mailing list.

We record IP addresses, referrer URLs, and user agent strings when subscribers confirm subscriptions to mailing lists because we are required to retain this information in order to be able to prove opt-in status, so it is exempt from our Do Not Track handling.

We do not store or process any data that is categorised as "sensitive", such as employment records, political affiliation, medical records, etc.

Data retention

We hold subscriber data for as long as subscriptions remain active. If open and click activity is recorded (see Do Not Track), that data is kept for 6 months, and is then deleted and only appears in aggregated statistics. We may use a lack of recorded activity to automatically delete subscriber data so that we do not retain it for longer than is necessary or relevant.

Data relating to subscribers that request a subscription but do not complete an opt-in confirmation is deleted after 1 week.

We retain unsubscribe data so that we can suppress future attempts to add subscriber address back onto mailing lists other than by their own request (for example by uploads of outdated lists by account holders).

Third parties

We do not share any personal data nor sell it to any third parties. We do not permit the use of bought-in mailing lists.

Cookies & trackers

For the most part, we use no cookies at all. When necessary, we use only secure, first-party session cookies, containing no identifiable data, that are deleted as soon as you close your browser window. Since these are strictly necessary for the operation of our site, we do not ask for consent (in accordance with PECR). We do not use any third party services that require cookies. We don't use any tracking scripts either; you'll find all our sites are unpolluted by google, facebook, and other trackers.

Account holders may use third-party tracking on their own sites, but they are outside our control.

Smartmessages.net can (optionally) add Google Analytics tracking parameters to clickthrough URLs, however, this only tells the destination web site where the traffic came from in general terms, and does not include any personal data.

We strongly recommend using an ethically-run tracker-blocker extension such as Better or uBlock Origin; both are entirely compatible with everything we do.

Do Not Track

We honour the standard "Do Not Track" mechanism built into browsers, which is usually controlled by a browser setting labelled something like "Ask websites not to track me". When this is set, we still record activity (typically message opens and clicks), but anonymously, without recording anything that would allow us to link to or identify an individual subscriber, such as their email or IP address. For reference, your current web browser has this setting disabled.

There are two exceptions to this: we are required to retain proof of opt-in confirmation, so we record IP address, referrer URL, and user agent string when you confirm a subscription to a mailing list in order to do that; We record IP addresses during logins so we can combat abuse and attempted break-ins.

Profiling and automated decision making

We don't do any of that.

Data security

We have extensive security measures in place in order to keep your data safe. This includes using strong encryption wherever feasible, enforcing strong passwords, using 2-factor authentication, using servers in secure data centres, and ensuring that only authorised staff can access data. Bear in mind that you provide personal data at your own risk; nobody (including us) can guarantee 100% security. We may sometimes send you email messages that contain important links, such as if you need to reset a password or confirm a subscription; you should treat these as confidential, much as you would a password. You can read more about our security measures.

Physical location

Our servers are located in London. We host at Equinix's Sovereign House and Harbour Exchange data centres in London's docklands, one of the UK's premier hosting locations, featuring clean, reliable power supplies, overspecified air conditioning, heavy physical security (retinal scanners etc). Our hosting provider is Mythic Beasts.

We perform some processing and host various resources (for example, our web site and help pages) on servers in France, hosted by gandi.net in Paris, but this does not involve personal data.

We will never export personal data out of the EU.

Phishing

To help defend against phishing, account holders can set up a page on their own web site that points back to us, and this can be used to assure subscribers that we are really acting for the account holder, and not pretending to be them.

Data breach procedures

GDPR and PECR (and the forthcoming ePR) require reporting of personal data breaches; Under PECR, we are classed as a "Service Provider". Breaches can include:

  • Unauthorised third-party acccess.
  • Deliberate or accidental action by a controller or processor.
  • Revealing personal data to an incorrect recipient.
  • Alteration of personal data without permission.
  • Loss of availability of personal data.

Should a breach occur relating to subscriber data, we will inform the relevant account holder(s) (the data controller) by email to their account addresses, and it is their responsiblity to communicate with subscribers, if necessary.

The applicable supervisory authority is the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Applicable laws

As we are a UK company, we are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the (forthcoming) EU Electronic Privacy Regulation (ePR) in our role as a data processor for account holders, and as a data controller for our account holders.

Synchromedia Limited is registered as a data controller and processor with the UK ICO.