Dear AuroraWatch UK subscriber,
It’s with great sadness that we are going to have to close the AuroraWatch UK email alert system with immediate effect. This doesn’t mean that we’re shutting down AuroraWatch, it’s just that we won’t be sending out any more alerts via email. You will still be able to get alerts via social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and via our smartphone apps (https://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/alerts/).
We know that this will disappoint some users. We’re also very sad, but this is something we’ve been putting off for some time. Operating a reliable mailing list service for 100,000+ individuals requires constant effort and ongoing resources. Up to now, we have been able to undertake this service (for free) amid our research and teaching activities at Lancaster University, but that effort is no longer sustainable.
Since AuroraWatch UK started almost 20 years ago, long before Facebook and smartphones, technology has moved on. Today AuroraWatch UK has almost 100,000 Twitter followers and almost 200,000 likes on Facebook meaning that email is a relatively small fraction of the AuroraWatch UK alerts issued. Nevertheless, the maintenance of the email infrastructure puts a considerable burden on the team and provides the most headaches, e.g. bouncing emails, delayed alerts, sign-up problems and mis-identified spam. By focussing on social media alerts we will benefit from more robust and efficient infrastructure.
Some of you might be wondering if this is related to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect from tomorrow (25 May 2018). The honest answer is that GDPR has contributed to the decision. We’re very proud that AuroraWatch UK has always operated within the spirit of what the new GDPR is trying to achieve – we take privacy and data security very seriously. However, we face challenges demonstrating when consent was received to store the email addresses of some 20,000 legacy users. Furthermore, the GDPR could result in significant financial penalties in the event of data loss. The upshot of this is that we will be securely deleting your subscription email address shortly.
If you’re not already signed up to receive alerts via the AuroraWatch UK social media feeds, then you can find out more information on the Alerts page of our website at https://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/alerts/
Once again, we’re sorry that we’ve have to make this decision, but we hope you will still wish to receive our alerts through other channels.
Very best wishes,
The AuroraWatch UK team