Privacy is a hot topic these days. With increased hacking and cyber crime happening, legislators on both the state and federal level are paying more attention to how websites collect, store, and protect consumer’s personal information. As a result, there are numerous laws and regulations dealing with consumer privacy being created and updated.
So what does any of this have to do with you and your business?
- All websites and mobile apps that serve Californians must comply with California’s Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA).
- Any website that collects information from children under 13 must comply with a federal law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
- If your website collects health information you must comply with HIPAA, and financial information is protected by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
- In addition, the FTC can impose fines and other penalties against websites that violate consumer privacy rights, and class action suits have been filed by consumers themselves when they feel their private information has been exploited.
Confused? Overwhelmed? Want to stab yourself in the eye?
6. Explain how you keep users’ information safe by including information on your site’s security. Its also good practice to explain that while you maintain security measures to protect users’ personal information from unauthorized access and misuse, no exchange of data over the Internet can be guaranteed as 100% secure. Ask your website visitor’s to agree that you are not responsible for their personal information that is intercepted without your authorization and despite your efforts to keep their information secure.
8. Give website visitors’ the ability to opt out. It is also a good practice to provide website visitors with the option to opt out of having their private information collected. This will not usually apply to voluntarily provided information, but does apply to information that is automatically collected via cookies. Therefore, you may want to provide instructions on how they can disable cookies when visiting your site.
9. If you collect information on children, or health information, or financial information, get familiar with the laws mentioned above and make sure you comply. And consider hiring an attorney to assist you.
Having good privacy practices and putting the effort in to protect the information that your customers provide you with is not just good for covering your ass, it’s good business. Being a good steward of your customers’ info builds a foundation of trust with your customers and differentiates you from your competitors.
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