Tips to Help In House Counsel Preserve Privacy
To help alleviate this dilemma for in house counsel, Matthew Savare, Mary J. Hildebrand and Robert D. Chesler have written an article in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel outlining the various privacy concerns most commonly faced by companies. While the article doesn't go into every privacy law and regulation, it does give a good introductory outline of the types of things companies should watch out for.
Specifically, the authors point to the following concepts that confront almost every company:
- Data Breaches. Nearly every state has some form of a data breach law that requires companies to notify consumers if data is lost or someone gains access to the company's databases.
- Protection of Social Security Numbers. Some states have passed laws requiring companies to protect the social security numbers of their customers and employees.
- Behavioral Advertising.
Many companies attempt to tailor ads to their website users based on
their past browsing history. So far, the FTC allows the advertising
industry to self-regulate the practice. The real danger might be in
customer anger at the practice and not the threat of any kind of legal
action, although at least one class action has arisen because of a
company's behavioral advertising practices.
- Companies should minimize the amount of data they collect.
- Security - both physical and electronic - should be a priority.
- Old records should be destroyed completely.
- Companies should put strict policies into place concerning data breaches and follow them.
- Outside vendors' privacy and security policies must meet the company's standards, and the company should clearly state and monitor the vendor's obligations.
- Companies should take out a cyber-insurance policy to help offset any possible identity theft and/or data privacy claims.
National Archives Missing a Terabyte of Sensitive Information (FindLaw's Technologist)
FTC Online Behavioral Advertising Privacy Principles Unplugged (FindLaw)
Privacy: You Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone (FindLaw)
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