Data Protection and ePrivacy law are now a part of doing business online. With high profile cases of lost or leaked data and ubiquitous social networks, consumers are increasingly aware of how website owners, large and small, handle their personal data. In the Technology in Business segment on today’s show Billy Hawkes the Data Protection Commissioner, Ronan Lupton, Barrister, specialising in media and commercial law and I, joined Bobby Kerr for an extended version of the Technology in Business segment. Extended, because there’s lots to say!
Direct marketing via email to your existing customers or a cookie that recognises a returning visitor to your website are all subject to Irish Data Protection Law, and the Data Protection Commissioner explained the relevance of Irish law to not only large technology companies, but to all SMEs with a website or who retain customer data.
And for businesses selling or promoting products online you need to bear in mind where you get images, descriptions and content that you publish. In the old days, you wouldn’t have gone to a competitor’s shop, photocopied their brochure, copied their descriptions and produced your own catalog, yet we do see this sort of thing happening online. If you copy content, or use material without permission you could have legal woes ahead.
When you’re doing business online, I’m an advocate for a common sense approach; would you do it in the ‘real world’, of business? If the answer’s no, you probably shouldn’t do it online. So always seek permission to use or reproduce content. My experience is that people will often say yes, but big brands or suppliers often have image use or brand guidelines, which they’ll tell you. They may well supply you with better quality images than you’d pick up around the web anyway.
If you do you collect data from your website users treat it with care; never sell it, never share it and protect it. The best place to start a review of your compliance is the Data Commissioner’s website DataProtection.ie and the Self-Assessment Checklist; and the case studies on the data commissioner’s website are an excellent indicator of how the law is interpreted, and implemented in a real world situations.
Data protection, copyright, e-privacy – there not there to cause you a problem, rather the law is well defined to ensure you don’t have one in the future.
External links & references
- DataProtection.ie : Data Privacy Checklist
- RIght to be forgotten : Google in Spanish courts
- Social Media Ethics & Regulation: @ TJ McIntyre.com
- What is a Cookie? : Redcert
- SilkTide’s cookie consent : open-source tool for websites
- Raytheon and Social Media data : RedCert
- My Secret Crush on Big Data : RedCert