Nearly all websites collect user information. This information is collected automatically by cookies or other technologies. The user may also submit the information.
Business owners need user information for advertising and communicating with customers and prospects. User information is essential for delivering products and services.
It is also useful for improving website functionality. The people who visit websites are concerned about how their information is used, stored, who can access it, and what privacy protection safeguards are in place?
Nearly every country has enacted a group of laws concerning the privacy of data. These laws regulate how consumer information is collected, how users are informed, and the amount of control that the individual has over his or her information after it is transferred.
Failure to adhere to applicable data privacy laws can lead to fines or lawsuits. A business may even have their website’s use prohibited in specific jurisdictions for non-compliance.
Navigating these types of laws can be daunting, however, every website operator must be familiar with them and how they affect users.
Privacy Laws in the US
There is not a comprehensive federal law governing the privacy of data in the US.
However, it does prohibit deceptive practices such as:
- Failing to provide adequate data security
- Practising or participating in misleading advertising
Other federal laws governing data collection include:
- The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act governs data collection about minors.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act governs data collection of health-related information.
- The Gramm Leach Bliley Act governs the collection of banking and financial information.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates credit information collection and use.
State Privacy Laws
To date, 25 US states have enacted privacy laws to govern the way residents’ data is collected, stored, and used. Some of these laws apply only to entities within the state government, while others apply to both.
The most comprehensive state legislation governing information privacy is the California Consumer Privacy Act. This law was signed on June 28, 2018, and went into effect on January 1, 2020.
International Privacy Law
The highest level of comprehensive legislation governing data protection at this time is the General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR Govern data collection, data use, data transmission, and data security.
It’s enactment covers the residents of the European Union, which is made up of 28 countries. It protects residents regardless of where the entity collecting data is located.
The Seven Principles of the GDPR
- Lawfulness, fairness, and Transparency
- Data minimization
- Purpose limitation
- Integrity and confidentiality
- Storage Limitation
To align your business with GDPR, you should first inform your security team of obligations required under the GDPR. You will need to ensure you have procedures in place for handling requests to access, modify, or delete personal data.
You will also want to define security notification procedures for timely notification in case a data breach occurs. It is best to thoroughly educate and train all staff members on EU data privacy.
From there, plan and conduct regular reviews and audits. Document all internal procedures, and ensure that the third parties you work with also adhere to mandatory provisions.
Failure to comply can result in 20 million or up to 4% of the global turnover.
Important GDPR requirements include:
Data Breach Notification
Organizations must notify data subjects and supervisory authorities within 72 hours of a data breach affecting personal information.
Right to Control Personal Data
Data Subjects are to be notified of their rights to access, correct, or delete their data
How To Make Sure Your Company is Compliant
Consider where your potential users live and what regulations apply. You should do this even if your business jurisdiction has not implemented any comprehensive legislation regarding the privacy of data.
If you intend to do business in the EU or California, you must familiarize yourself with the GDPR and CCPA.
Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the CCPA requirement. Know the requirements for mapping and keeping inventory of customer data.
Test and validate everything on your site. This includes data access requests, data sharing, and security policies.
The importance of data protection continues to increase. It affects users’ decision making about online activities including browsing and shopping.
A company needs to possess a stellar reputation for the responsible handling of users’ personal information. This level of compliance is an asset that will lead to increased website traffic, greater conversions, and a positive overall impact on profits.
Businesses that build direct relationships with consumers through respect and lawful interaction will be at the forefront of the digital arena. Learn how you can proactively work to build a plan for managing your customers’ data effectively today.