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Instapaper is latest big name site to close (for now) over GDPR

INSTAPAPER the bookmarking service launched in 2008, has announced it is to cease trading in the European Union, as it cannot comply with GDPR before the deadline. 

The company is shutting down EU access from today, but has pledged to return once it has had time to comply with the new arrangements. The news was broken last night by tech writer Owen Williams who tweeted:

 

At time of publication, everything was still working but users should be warned that it could go bork-bork at any time. Outside Europe, things will continue as normal. 

The site was bought by Pinterest in 2016 but has continued in relative autocracy since and there’s no indication that Pinterest is planning the same move. 

Instapaper isn’t the first victim of the move. Earlier thing month, Spam Fritterer site Unroll.me, which has data collection at the heart of its business model, confirmed that it would cease trading in the EU and even comply as it couldn’t hope to comply with the new rules. 

Instapaper’s biggest rival, Pocket, formally ‘Read It Later’, doesn’t appear to be having the same issues, but that’s owned by The Mozilla Foundation whose level of diligence is such that it has probably been compliant since before the Internet was even invented. 

As for whether Instapaper should have to go on hiatus, it’s almost impossible to tell. So many companies are utterly confused about their responsibilities under GDPR that it’s possible that this is a huge overreaction, though on the other hand, it seems unlikely that a company the size of Pinterest would allow one of its brands to shoot itself in the foot so spectacularly. 

So most likely it either can’t comply with the requirement that people can request all the data held about them, or (and this seems likely) that Instapaper and Pinterest are sharing data and now need to unpick it so it’s clear who knows what about whom. µ  

 

 

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