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Storing and Displaying a LISTSERV Privacy Policy

Storing and Displaying a LISTSERV Privacy Policy

With the advent of the EU GDPR, we're sure you've noticed the many emails and website notifications regarding updated privacy policies since the regulation took effect May 25, 2018. Does the current focus on these policies have you musing about whether you should provide one for your LISTSERV site or your LISTSERV mailing list? Are you unsure exactly how to go about doing that? Rest easy, because L-Soft has anticipated this need with three new privacy policy web templates, available in LISTSERV 16.5 and newer.

The three templates are:

1. PRIVACY-POLICY: The HTML text of your localized privacy policy
2. LAYOUT-GLOBAL-PRIVACY: The general layout of all privacy policy pages on the server
3. PRIVACY: The calling template

PRIVACY-POLICY is the template that most list owners and administrators will be concerned with as it's the place where the privacy policy HTML text is stored. By default, it strictly contains comments:

+* Enter the privacy policy for your list in this template in HTML format.
+* A link to this policy will automatically be placed on the list home page.

As noted, this is an HTML template, quickly accessible via the web template editor's "Frequently Modified Templates" category, which can be provided at either the site level or at the individual list level.

If a policy is provided at both the site level and the list level, the list-level policy will override the site-level policy. Each of the three privacy policy templates can be overridden at the list level.

Sample Privacy Policy

By default, the home page of each list will contain a link to the privacy policy if one has been provided.

List owners have the option to modify the $SIGNUP mail template to include a link to the privacy policy page as well. The basic URL pointing to the privacy policy is of this form:



The yourhost.tld is the fully qualified domain name of your LISTSERV host, for example, LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM, and LISTNAME is the name of the list for which the privacy policy applies.

If no explicit privacy policy template is defined at either the site or list level, the page still displays, but, other than the header, it will be blank.

If you don't already have a GDPR-compliant privacy policy, your next step is to create one so that it can be used with LISTSERV. That's beyond the scope of this article, but there are online services that can help you create your privacy policy – for example, a search for "mailing list privacy policy" pops up links for several such services and reviews of them as well. Or you can take a look at existing privacy policies for similar mailing lists and craft your own. Finally, your organization may have already have an existing GDPR-compliant privacy policy that you can use for this purpose.

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