GDPR: Allow deactivation of Push notifications that include user's name

I installed Mattermost on my own server in order to comply with the European data security laws. For usability reasons I want to allow push notifications to email and to the mobile app but it always includes at least the writer’s Nickname. A user can decide not to receive push notifications but they cannot decide that their name should not be included in the push notifications of other members.

So my feature request is this:

  • Allow the administrator to set up “anonymous” push notifications, e.g. “a team member mentioned you in a discussion” etc. without naming the User’s name
  • and/or allow every user to forbid sending their Nickname/User name to push notifications of other team members and replace the name with some generic text like “a user” or “a team member”

Does a nickname constitute as a name/PII under the GDPR regulations? I’m not entirely familiar with the specifics since I’m American and don’t have very much of a background in the finer details, but I’m just wondering if the system admin settings to hide name/email, etc from all users would also apply to push notifications, and, if a nickname is not considered PII, that it would allow you to become GDPR complient.

Under GDPR even the IP address is considered personal data, so the nickname would also be considered personal data.

I feel like the non-storage of the nickname of a user would nearly render the communications platform pointless, as this would in theory make it impossible to tell two users and their messages apart, yes?

I understand the IP address part, but the nicknames part I don’t see the correlation on, although I’d like to be able to learn more to fully understand.

Not showing the nickname in the notification would make usability worse, I agree. This is why I do not want to deactivate the nicknames entirely but leave each user the choice if they want their name sent to the notification servers. I am hoping, not everyone would deactivate the feature, so that privacy-sensitive users can deactivate the feature for their name but others will still be seen.

I guess I’m a bit confused then, what would be sent in notifications if not the user’s nickname? The only other alternative would be their actual name if they had it set, is it not?

Or am I misinterpreting what your saying, and you’re looking to allow users to disable the sending of notifications to their message recepients?

Let’s say 1 in 10 users on my Mattermost instance does not want their name sent in the notifications. For notfications about messages sent by the other 9 users, the name would be displayed in the notification to others. Just for messages sent by this 1 user, who deactivated the feature, their name would not be displayed and something generic would be sent in the notification (like: “you received a message in channel xyz”).

I want this 1 user to be able to disallow sending their name in notifications (therefore making notifications for messages from this very user extremely generic). Did this clarify the issue?

The overall goal is to have notifications including the nickname as default but to give privacy-sensitive users the choice to opt out from having their name included in notifications to others.

Ahhh yes, that makes a lot more sense, thank you for clarifying. I’m not sure if there is anything like that that currently exists, I’m going to look at the existing plugins and see what’s there, and if nothing else, I suppose I could create a plugin for that, and maybe some of the other features that your looking for as well!

1 Like