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In my subscription form I want to use a double opt-in method:

  • First, the visitor subscribes
  • Then a confirmation email is dispatched. If he replies...
  • Then I add him to the system.

In the case where the user does not reply, how long can I store their email address? Are there any legal requirements with regard to that?

I am from U.S. and I am also interested in the policy in European countries.

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closed as off topic by MainMa, Jarrod Roberson, StuperUser, Walter, ChrisF Mar 6 '12 at 21:29

Questions on Programmers Stack Exchange are expected to relate to software development within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In the UK, the "Data Protection Act" is relevant. AFAIK, it doesn't restrict what you can store directly, but subscribers can request (for a fixed nominal fee) copies of all data you hold on them, and can at least demand that you correct errors. I assume there are similar acts in at least some other countries in Europe. These probably don't affect you unless you have offices in those countries. – Steve314 Mar 6 '12 at 18:07
As long as you are not spamming the email account and you keep it safe then how can anyone prove that you actually have their email address on file? (Disclaimer IANAL) – maple_shaft Mar 6 '12 at 18:12
@maple_shaft - That's a poor way to look at things. Slaps - "You didn't see me do it". – Craige Mar 6 '12 at 18:20
@foodil - I would say between 30 and 60 days would be an answer most people would feel is reasonable. Is there a law that says "after x days you must delete the email of a user" not at this time. You would have to do research on the laws within Europe more specfic answer risk making this way to localized. – Ramhound Mar 6 '12 at 18:34
up vote 3 down vote accepted

However for easier conversion, you can send the subscriber a reminder as follows:

a) 15 days - thanking them for subscribing to your services, and letting them know that there is only one more step to go to activate their account

b) 45 days - Letting them know that they are missing out on the goodies on your site or news letter

c) 75 days - letting them know a while ago they signed up and you would like them to complete activation

After 90 days delete their information, because they are not going to come back anyway. I remember Google and Microsoft would only hold data for 3 months before deleting it, but I am not yet sure anymore what the number is.

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There's no official policy or so as far as I know. It entirely depends on how long the developer wants to store it in the database.

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Yes . I have read the official compliance for this question. There is not stated so i think it can be stored as long as you don't mail them. – Leo Chan Mar 6 '12 at 18:00

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