Identity Theft Hacker

Even More Legal Mistakes To Avoid For Websites

Identity Theft HackerIn our last post, we looked at one of the most common legal issues that website owners face—copyright infringement. But there are plenty more legal potholes for you to blow a tire in. At that moment, the web is a little like the Wild West—but more and more Texas Rangers are moving in every day, more sheriffs are cleaning up towns, and the days of lawless website rustlin’ and Identity theft are quickly coming to an end.

There are a lot of rules that apply to businesses, and business websites don’t get a free pass. So here are some of the biggest legal troublemakers to avoid as you stake your claim.

Putting Out the Welcome Mat For Identity Theft

Here’s a huge liability to avoid. It seems like every other day; a major website gets hacked and millions upon millions of bytes of user data are stolen for ill-gotten gain. And those are just the ones who make the news. Trust me, you don’t want to be one of the websites that loses its customers’ data to Identity theft.

If your online business requires users to submit personal information, make certain all your digital doors have padlocks.  Part of this means making sure your site is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certified, which adds a vital level of encryption.

Don’t Open That Spam

Nobody likes getting spam in their inbox. And sending that spam incorrectly might just open the sender up to some big fines. You don’t want to be that person.

The CAN SPAM act (details here) was put in place to protect consumers from shady email marketing campaigns, and there are a lot of rules you need to know, so if email is part of your marketing plan, read up.

For starters, it’s illegal to sell email addresses, so if you’re planning to buy an email list, reconsider. Not only are you making yourself liable for legal issues, the email addresses you’re buying are probably already receiving so much spam that your ads would just be lost in the deluge.

To be on the safe side of most CAN SPAM regulations, be honest, be open. Only send email marketing to customers who specifically opted in and consented to receive your messages. Always give them an option to “opt out”. And when you send them, don’t try and disguise them as something else. Be clear that it’s an ad, from you, and then give them an accurate and compelling reason to read it.

Oh, and even if you hire another company to do your email marketing for you, you’re still liable for whatever they do, so hire wisely.

Lay Down the Law

Terms and conditions. It’s the part of the website nobody ever reads, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. You’ll hopefully have a lot of visitors, customers, tourists, and others wiping their feet on your welcome mat and wandering inside your site, so make sure that somewhere on your site, you’ve laid out the rules.

This can cover everything from content licensing to legal disclaimers. Sure, it’s boring, but if you ever find yourself in a legal situation, you’ll be glad you included it on your site.

Next post, we will take a look at the other side of the legal battles… what to do if you catch someone stealing your content. But until then, my friends…

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