27 Jun. 2018
Instapaper’s website, a month ago, the day the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented in Europe:
Instapaper is temporarily unavailable for residents in Europe as we continue to make changes in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25, 2018. We apologise for any inconvenience, and we intend to restore access as soon as possible.
Not only did they give barely any notice to their users, but there is no real explanation whatsoever for this delay. Being owned by Pinterest, I would think that Instapaper would be “better resourced” when it comes to data and user privacy. Same story goes for the Los Angeles Times, still unavailable in Europe.
Using Instapaper a lot myself, I recently sent them an email asking for an update, to know if I should just switch back to Pocket or wait a few extra days before being able to use again my favorite read-later service. They wrote back:
Our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience. I can’t give an exact resolution time, but I can say that we’re actively working on it, have made good progress, and this continues to be our main focus. We feel we’re getting closer and we’ll be sharing as much documentation as we can when we’re back to clear things up. […]
Again, we’re really sorry that we’re not able to provide service to EU IPs right now. We are doing everything we can to sort this out as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and for using Instapaper.
The GDPR regulation was adopted on 14 April 2016 by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, meaning Instapaper had more than two years to prepare for that day.
What are they doing with user data that requires so much time to comply with the regulation? Hopefully we will have an answer one day, and that the service is not on its final hours. As Pinboard’s Maciej Ceglowski tweeted when Instapaper became part of Pinterest:
The “we sold to Pinterest but nothing is changing” email is Instapaper’s equivalent of reassuring grandma about her move to a nursing home.
When it comes to data privacy or product longevity, it is never a good sign when a service becomes free for unclear reasons.