Q: What if I just “borrow” policy provisions I like from a big company’s website like Google or Amazon?
A: First, that’s intellectual property theft, which can lead to a copyright infringement lawsuit or at least a cease-and-desist demand letter from some unhappy corporate attorneys representing the owner you stole from.
Related Article: 7 Keys to Picking the Right Internet Lawyer
Different Kinds of Privacy Rights
Q: Why are there different types of privacy rights?
A: There are many legal variables at play in e-commerce. For example, the law treats website visitors very differently depending upon their ages.
Visitors who are at least 18 years old have minimal protection under the law because they’re generally treated as adults. Minors who are 13 to 17 years old have some legal safeguards under the law that are unavailable to adults.
Of course, the most protected privacy rights by law are those of children who are 12 years of age or younger. The federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a complex beast to comply with even you’re an experienced attorney.
Related Article: Amazon Associates’ Child Directed Policy, COPPA, and Your Website
And it’s important to note your view of who your website visitors are may be different from that of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or a state attorney general’s consumer protection office when trying to protect minors.
There have been companies that thought their target market was college students only to learn the hard way website visitors supplying information were actually pre-teens. This is not the position you want to be in from a liability standpoint.
A: Yes. For many websites, it’s not much of an issue because the information being collected is rather mundane, such as the length of a visit to a particular web page. A lot of this type of data is collected and reviewed in the aggregate rather than at the individual user level…