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Rails Engine for the GDPR compliance


The world needs some privacy, please

Build Status Maintainability Coverage Status

About this project

PolicyManager (Aka GDPR Rails) was created with flexibility in mind to comply with the requirements of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). It's currently being developed at preyproject and will be battle-tested on from May 25th.

Main Features:

Policy Rules

  • Configurable policy rules, supports activerecord validations for new or existing users
  • Supports session-less consent policies which will become persistent once the user signs in or signs up
  • Versioning system for new policies
  • JSON endpoints to handle pending policies and portability logic in order to be implemented in client only interfaces, ie: frontend apps like React, Vue, Backbone, you name it.


Portability module lets you define export options, that will generate a navigable static HTML site with all the data you've defined in the portability rules with json support too.

  • Seamless data export with configurable templates
  • Configurable Mailer templates for progress & download completion
  • Downloads images to the local filesystem in order to comply with GDPR requirements on data accessibility.
  • Zips all the information and delivers it with a expirable download link
  • ActiveJob to handle the process
  • Behind the scenes uses Rails's ActiveStorage (with an optional Paperclip support) in which you can set up storages, like S3, Google

Scripts & Cookies

Configurable scripts which will bind cookie names in order to handle the script rendering and the cookie clean up.


  • TBD, for now we simply delete all the data when a user closes the account. This could be handled in the future with encryption like in emails or other kind of sensible fields on a database.

Admin Panel

Admin panel


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

as gem 'gdpr_rails'

Then in your application.rb require the policy_manager lib with

require "policy_manager"

Install & run the migrations

rake policy_manager:install:migrations

Rails ActiveStorage

By default The engine will use the app's active_storage setup for file handling

Rails Paperclip

If you don't use activeStorage in your application, run this migration to use paperclip

class PaperclipFieldsToPortability < ActiveRecord::Migration[5.2]
  def change
    add_column :policy_manager_portability_requests, :attachment, :string
    add_column :policy_manager_portability_requests , :attachment_file_name, :string
    add_column :policy_manager_portability_requests , :attachment_file_size, :string
    add_column :policy_manager_portability_requests , :attachment_file_content_type, :string
    add_column :policy_manager_portability_requests, :attachment_content_type, :string

and in your Gdpr config add paperclip option to enable it

PolicyManager::Config.setup do |config|
  config.paperclip = true

Usage examples

Basic config

config = PolicyManager::Config.setup do |c|
  c.logout_url = "logout"
  c.from_email = ""
  c.admin_email_inbox = ""

  c.user_resource = User # defaults to User
  c.admin_user_resource = AdminUser # defaults to User
  # is_admin method in order for engine to know
  # how to authorize admin only areas
  c.is_admin_method = ->(o){
    o.is_god? || o.is_admin? || o.is_me? || o.watheva


In order for this engine to work you must supply some rules according to your needs, in order to be in comply with the GDPR you will need 3 rules at least. A cookie consent, a Privacy& TOS and an Age confirmation (+16). So, let's start by doing that:

Term rules

In your app router add the following:

  mount PolicyManager::Engine => "/policies"

Then add the concern to your User model:

class User < ApplicationRecord
  include PolicyManager::Concerns::UserBehavior

Then add an initializer, config/initializers/gdpr.rb and inside it set your policy rules.

PolicyManager::Config.setup do |c|
  c.add_rule({name: "cookie", sessionless: true }  )
  c.add_rule({name: "age", validates_on: [:create, :update], blocking: true })
  c.add_rule({name: "privacy_terms", validates_on: [:create, :update], blocking: true })

# If you are using devise, you must extend engines's controller with devise helpers in order to get current_user
PolicyManager::UserTermsController.send(:include, Devise::Controllers::Helpers)

Note that you will need to go to the policy panel and add the policy content for each term at http://localhost:3000/policies/categories otherwise you will see errors like no term for #{rule} policy

ActiveRecord Methods

When the policies are configured will generate some helper methods on User model. For example, with the example above you will get the following methods for free:

  • @user.has_consented_cookie?
  • @user.has_consented_age?
  • @user.has_consented_privacy_terms?

also you get:

  • @user.pending_policies
  • @user.pending_blocking_policies
  • @user.confirm_all_policies!
  • @user.reject_all_policies!
  • @user.needs_policy_confirmation_for?(rule)
  • @user.policy_term_on(rule)
  • @user.policy_user_term_on(term)
  • @user.handle_policy_for(term)
  • @user.can_request_portability?

Policy rules:

  • sessionless: will allow rules to be available for non logged users, if accepted a cookie cookies["policy_rule_cookie"] will be generated. If then the user sign in or signs up you could get this cookie it will persist in database.

Use this in your controller:

@user.accept_policy_from("your_cookie") if cookies["policy_rule_your_cookie"] == "accepted"
  • validates_on: will require users validation, will automagically create virtual attributes for the policy you set, so, if you set age in your config you must supply in your forms a policy_rule_age checkbox in your form, if you don't supply those then the user validation will return errors on policy_rule_age . Don't forget to add the fields in your strong params in the controller which handles the request.
  • if: you can add conditions as a Proc in order skip validations:
  c.add_rule({name: "age", validates_on: [:create, :update],
              if: ->(o){ o.enabled_for_validation } })
  • on_reject: Proc which will be triggered when user rejects a policy (has an argument that contains the controller context)
  • on_accept: Proc which will be triggered when user accepts a policy (has an argument that contains the controller context)


This is an example for a cookie rule. The expected behavior would be when the user rejects cookies iterate over our scripts and delete cookies:

  c.add_rule({name: "cookie", sessionless: true, on_reject: ->(context){
      .select{|o| !o.permanent }
          context.send(:cookies).delete(c, domain: o.domain)

Policy handling:

There are some endpoints that will handle json in order to interact with client applications, like react interfaces, $.ajax etc. you can also use the html web panel directly from the engine. So, if the Engine was mounted on /policies then your routes will be:

pending_user_terms          GET    /user_terms/pending(.:format)                     policy_manager/user_terms#pending
accept_multiples_user_terms PUT    /user_terms/accept_multiples(.:format)            policy_manager/user_terms#accept_multiples
blocking_terms_user_terms   GET    /user_terms/blocking_terms(.:format)              policy_manager/user_terms#blocking_terms
accept_user_term            PUT    /user_terms/:id/accept(.:format)                  policy_manager/user_terms#accept
reject_user_term            PUT    /user_terms/:id/reject(.:format)                  policy_manager/user_terms#reject
user_terms                  GET    /user_terms(.:format)                             policy_manager/user_terms#index
user_term                   GET    /user_terms/:id(.:format)                         policy_manager/user_terms#show

Scripts & Cookies

This is supposed to in mix with your declared cookie term. So, this configuration let's you declare your external scripts that are related with tracking, ie: Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Google Tag manager, etc... This configuration expects that you declare scripts that will be rendered over certain contexts (environments) and have the names (and domains) of the cookies that those scripts generates.


    name: "google analytics",
    script: 'shared/analytics/universal',
    environments: [:production],
    description: ->{I18n.t("cookies.list.google_analytics")},
    cookies: ["_ga", "_gid", "_gat_XXX-XXX"],
    domain: ""

Importance of declaring the cookie domain: When you clean up the cookies (like in the example above for on_reject) is important to set the domain that this cookies belongs. In some cases this external scripts could add the cookie on your subdomain or your base domain. In out case we found that some cookies are generated on or .panel.preyproject or just Try to get that information on chrome console -> application -> cookies.

Example in your layout:

This is an example on how you would render your scripts only if the user has accepted the cookie

    <% if current_user.has_consented_cookie? %>
     <!--  # this cames from portability/helpers/scripts_helpers -->
      <%= render_scripts %>
    <% end %>

render_scripts will iterate over your configured scripts and render the templates defined on PolicyManager::Script

Portability Rules

Export option & Portability rules will allow you to set up how and which data you will give to a requester user.


  • path: where the folder will be generated, usually can be set on /tmp, this will need a pathname, like Rails.root.join("tmp/export")
  • resource: which model , ie: User
  • index_template: The first page. defaults to a simple ul li list of links tied to your rules, this expects a Pathname or a String with your template
  • layout: A layout template this expects a layout name which has to be available on your app.
  • after_zip: a callback to handle the zip file on the resource, something like:
after_zip: ->(zip_path, resource){
  puts "THIS IS GREAT #{zip_path} was zipped, now what ??"
  • mail_helpers: If you have some helpers you want to add to the mailers, then you can pass an Array of helpers, [MailHelper, OtherMailHelper],
  • attachment_path: Paperclip upload path , defaults to "portability/:id/",
  • attachment_storage: Paperclip storage, defaults to filesystem , you can set s3 or google or whatever paperclip supports
  • expiration_link: integer, defaults to 60 (1 minute),

Portability Rules:

Portability rules collection render. This will call a @user.articles and will auto paginate records

PolicyManager::Config.setup do |c|

  # minimal exporter setup
  c.exporter = {
    path: Rails.root + "tmp/export",
    resource: 'User'

  # portability rules, collection render. This will call a @user.articles
  # and will auto paginate records
  # template expects a string or path
    name: "exportable_data",
    collection: :articles,
    template: "hello, a collection will be rendered here use @collection.to_json",
    json_template: "collection.json.jbuilder", # or Rails.root.join("app/views/collection.json.jbuilder")

    per: 10

  # portability rules, member render. This will call a @user.account_data
  # template expects a string or path
    name: "my_account",
    member: :account_data,
    template: "hellow , here a resource will be rendered <%= @member.to_json %> "



If the content that will be delivered has images use the image_tag in your template. This helper was reimplemented in order for the remote image to be downloaded automatically. And will be served locally in order to comply with the Portability data requirements.

Web Endpoints and methods for user:

user_portability_requests   GET    /user_portability_requests(.:format)              policy_manager/user_portability_requests#index
                            POST   /user_portability_requests(.:format)              policy_manager/user_portability_requests#create
user_portability_request    DELETE /user_portability_requests/:id(.:format)          policy_manager/user_portability_requests#destroy

Web Endpoints and methods for admin :

this routes are accessible from engine's admin panel

confirm_portability_request GET    /portability_requests/:id/confirm(.:format)       policy_manager/portability_requests#confirm
portability_requests        GET    /portability_requests(.:format)                   policy_manager/portability_requests#index
portability_request         DELETE /portability_requests/:id(.:format)               policy_manager/portability_requests#destroy


  • anonimyzer


Main maintainers


  • Just fork the repo and send us a Pull Request, with some tests please :)
  • FYI: The CI pipeline on travis will require gemlocks for each or the Rails versions we test against.
    • Run bundle exec appraisal install and commit the generated files in the ./gemfile/ directory
    • Check out Appraisal for more context.


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.