Today, all business owners who have an online component to their business should have a good grasp of internet law, legal privacy issues, and how these can affect your business and customers.
What should businesses put in place to protect themselves and their customers in an online business?
Contact a reputable business lawyer for more information about online privacy and your business.
Privacy and Security Laws
Internet privacy is possibly the most important piece of cyberlaw for businesses to manage today. It includes topics like tracking, data collection, data sharing, and cybersecurity.
U.S. business owners would be wise to get familiar with key internet laws that are already in place to protect information and privacy to protect their business and inform their customers.
Here’s an overview of some key laws:
- The 1974 Privacy Act outlines general codes about data collection and uses in federal agencies.
- The Children’s Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) protects children under 13 from having personal information used without parental consent.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act contains various sections about Consumer Privacy, Credit Reporting, and Data Security.
- The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) lets the U.S. government access digital material if they have a subpoena after a certain period of time.
- The CAN-SPAM Act ensures that businesses comply with certain standards in emails and other online marketing activities.
- The Financial Services Modernization Act (GLBA) and Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) were developed to protect consumer information, particularly in light of identity theft.
E-commerce and Personal Information
Even if you’re not running an e-commerce business, the chances are that any business owner will exchange goods and/or services online at some point.
To this end, they should have a solid understanding of what to put in place to ensure secure financial transactions and protect customer privacy.
Even making a small mistake in this light could lead to a data breach and cost you your business.
Although the U.S. does not have a single federal law to cover this, California, Colorado, and
Virginia do have recently developed consumer data privacy laws that address topics such as:
- How consumers need to have access to opt-outs
- How consumers can maintain personal control over information
- Business privacy policies
- How information is shared with third parties
- Consumers requesting changes to information or deleting it
See the National Conference of State Legislatures website for details about these specific laws.
Business owners getting familiar with internet law should also consider reviewing the FTC’s Privacy by Design recommendations, which give business owners guidance on best practices in data management and privacy.
Privacy, Internet Law and Marketing
Along with consumer privacy protection, business owners should also be aware of privacy and internet law issues about marketing and selling, including:
- Understanding the risks of social media in business
- Understanding federal regulations about selling
- How online influencers should stay within the law
- Make sure all advertising claims and endorsements are transparent and accurate
- Ensuring that email and other digital marketing complies with the CAN-SPAM Act
Consider also that there are many legal issues about intellectual property, such as those with trademarks, patents, and copyright.
Be sure to check all media for fair use laws before using it for your marketing purposes, as even something as simple as using a photo could land you in trouble.
Payment, Terms & Conditions
Business owners operating an eCommerce business especially need to be clear about ground rules in contracts, specific terms, and conditions where that pertains to online privacy.
This facet of internet law can be covered as part of your business development. A business lawyer can help you draft contracts, including those to do with liability limitations, payment terms, and other policies which may have to do with consumer protection.
Online business owners should also review the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which ensures compliance regarding secure credit card transitions.
Contact a business lawyer to learn more about internet law and your online business.
Online Privacy and Internet Law for Businesses
Companies should stay on top of online privacy issues on all levels. Some basic guidelines for this
- Building your business with privacy and security measures in place from the ground up
- Only collecting the necessary data
- Disposing of data once a transaction is complete
- Putting extra security precautions in place for E-commerce businesses
- Take extra steps to educate consumers on how you use and protect their information
- Develop employee quick reference books for internet privacy issues
- Hire reputable IT specialists to ensure that your website stays secure
- Make sure data stored in the cloud is encrypted
- Have regular internet law and privacy training for employees
Regulations and laws do exist to protect consumers, and businesses need to do everything in their power to make sure they comply. This means placing a high priority on stopping cyber-attacks and data breaches before they happen.
Having a business lawyer on your side can help protect your business from cybercrime and support you should you hit any legal snags.
If you have questions about online privacy and cyberlaw, call or message us today for a consultation.