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If you are starting an online business, conducting email marketing, or interacting with your customers via your website, then you need to be aware of and adhere to online privacy policies.
The thing about online privacy policies is that they differ from business to business and must be tailored to fit each business’ needs. However, there are some general guidelines and laws to be aware of as you craft your policy.
1. Explain How You Collect and Use Personal Information
- How You Share Customer Information – Customers need to know that their data will only be used to complete the transaction and that any further use of that data (including selling or distributing it) requires their consent.
- Contact Information – Make it easy for your customers to contact you or file a complaint.
3. Publish Your Email Opt-Out Policies – Include opt-out options in your email marketing (the CAN-SPAM Act requires it) and on your website so that your customers have the option of changing or canceling their email notices. Read more about opt-out and CAN-SPAM laws in SBA’s guide to Online Advertising Law.
4. Collecting Data from Children – If your website targets children under the age of 13, you’ll need to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
7. Talk to an Expert – The Federal Trade Commission is constantly reviewing privacy issues. Areas such as cloud computing, mobile applications, social media, and other online services are increasingly coming under the spotlight. If you do most of your business online, talk to a lawyer who specializes in Internet or online law to determine whether your policies are adequate.
For more detailed tips, take a look at SBA’s Guide to Online Privacy Law for tips on implementing a fail-safe policy.
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