Support » Theme: Blocksy » Freemius and privacy concerns

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  • Hi @thedarkmist, this is Vova from Freemius. Similar to Google Analytics, Freemius helps developers to get valuable analytics about the usage of their plugins and themes so they can make data-driven decisions instead of relying on gut feeling. Regardless, you don’t have to share any of your data, it’s consent-based (GDPR compliant), so you can simply choose to skip the opt-in.

    We also have this special Q&A that we’ve created to address any data concerns.

    If you have any specific concerns I’m more than happy to answer.

    Thread Starter Francesco Canovi

    (@thedarkmist)

    Based of what is written in the “stay updated” box in Blocksy, it’s not so.
    It says “Never miss an important update – opt in to our security & feature updates notifications”, so it seems that if you want updates (and, most importantly, security updates), you have no choice and you have to opt-in.

    Theme Author creativethemeshq

    (@creativethemeshq)

    @thedarkmist You are right this message is not fully accurate. Update notifications are delivered even if you skip the opt in — we’ll adjust it, thanks for the heads up!

    So, in the end, what @svovaf holds true — you can safely opt out.

    We’ll make the changes as soon as possible.

    I have just bought a lifetime license for the theme and wanted to activate it. However, I am told that the plugin sends data to Freemius including my php info. I am very sorry, but this is absolutely not possible for me to agree to.

    Apparently (according to https://github.com/Freemius/data-concerns-faq/blob/master/faq-02.md) it is only possible to opt out of sending sensitive data to Freemius with the free version, but NOT the pro version.

    So, is there really no way to grant paying customers the same level of privacy than non-paying users? This is not even “just” a privacy concern, it’s a security breach.

    Theme Author creativethemeshq

    (@creativethemeshq)

    Hi @ulim,

    First of all, I’d like to apologise for the delayed reply. This is by no means an indication that we do not take privacy concerns seriously.

    I’d like to emphasize that we don’t send “all” your PHP info — we only send the version and nothing more, as far as your PHP installation is concerned. Here you can see a complete list of what exactly gets sent from your environment: https://github.com/Freemius/data-concerns-faq/blob/master/faq-08.md#site-information. With all due respect, I would not call this a security breach as no sensitive information about your site gets compromised.

    Next, I’d like to point out that this has no relation with Blocksy the theme. The theme has absolutely no code that sends data to outside services in it. Thereby, it’s important to understand that all the above questions should be addressed to Blocksy Companion plugin, the free version being hosted here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/blocksy-companion/.

    Frankly, without this there would be no way to track your license usage for the paid product, thus allowing for potential abuse of the produce from malicious and dishonest users. Sadly, there’s no way you could run the paid version of the plugin on your site without agreeing to this.

    Hope this makes sense.
    I’ll be happy to see what are your suggestions on improving this process for the paid version so that: (1) users data stays as safe as possible (it currently does) and as few of it is sent as possible (2) Fair & honest usage of the product is enforced.
    Hope to have a productive discussion about this.

    Best regards.

    Well, the activation message said that I have to agree to my “PHP info” being sent, which contains all sorts of sensitive information from a security standpoint. Even if your plugin would not send any of it, I would still have to agree to this very broad statement. This amounts to writing a blank check.

    Aside from that, I do consider some of the data the plugin is transmitting as sensitive for reasons that have to do with the special environment my WordPress installation is running in.

    At the end of the day you will have to make a decision whether to focus on making it easy for honest users or making it hard for dishonest users. In my mind, if someone wants to steal your software, he will find a way to crack it. And if he doesn’t, he will most certainly not buy the Pro license. You’re not going to turn a thief into a customer.

    The reason why I bought the lifetime license was to encourage further development of the free version, because I think that is a great and very usable product you are giving to the community for free. So Kudos for that. But I did not expect that as a paying customer I would lose the right to opt out of data collection. Perhaps that could be made much clearer pre-sales.

    It’s up to you to say whether it makes business sense to subject honest customers to much harsher data protection rules than non-paying users. Maybe I’m missing an important point, but I just can’t imagine how that would net you even one more customer.

    Theme Author creativethemeshq

    (@creativethemeshq)

    @ulim Thanks a lot for voicing your opinion. This definitely makes a lot of sense. We’ll take this into consideration and improve our wording and disclaimers about it — that’s the least we can do short term.

    Thanks and best regards!

    Also, as a quick update, it’s quite common for all the products that have any sort of licensing system inside them to track this info about your site. Even though they might not say it, they do that because otherwise there’s no way of enforcing fair license usage. Freemius, for the least, is being transparent with what exactly is being sent.

    Then those other products are not GDPR-compliant. I am not familiar enough with the WP ecosystem, but if what you say is true, then it’s a gold mine waiting to be exploited. I would not recommend to ignore the GDPR, that can be costly 🙂

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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