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Small Biz Need to Know: Delaware's New Online Privacy Law

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Doing business online means you can reach your customers anywhere. But it also means that your customers can come from anywhere, and some of those "wheres" have different laws that apply to doing business online.

One of those "wheres" is Delaware, and one of those laws is DOPPA: the Delaware Online Privacy Protection Act. DOPPA goes into effect on January 1, 2016, but your small business might need to start gearing up now. Here's what you need to know about Delaware's new online privacy law:

DOPPA Is for the Children

Like corresponding federal legislation -- the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) -- DOPPA restricts what kind of online ads can be targeted to kids. Websites and apps that are targeted to children are prohibited from advertising or marketing content or products that are inappropriate for children's viewing. This includes products like alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and pornography.

Although DOPPA mimics COPPA, the state law has a much wider reach than the federal legislation. DOPPA defines children as anyone under the age of 18, while COPPA applies to those under 13. And even if websites and apps aren't directed at kids, if they know that kids access the site they can't engage in targeted advertising of adult content by using any personally identifiable information.

Post Your Policy

Anyone involved in Internet and e-commerce should know by now to have a robust privacy policy for customers and that this privacy policy should be posted prominently. DOPPA just takes that well-known best practice and codifies it.

Under Delaware's law, operators of websites and apps that collect personally identifiable information of state residents must not only conspicuously post a comprehensive privacy policy, but also comply with said policy. The privacy policy, should address how "do not track" requests are handled, whether third parties have access to users' personally identifiable information, and when and how users will be notified of changes to the policy, among other topics.

If you need help creating an online privacy policy or making sure your online business is compliant with state privacy laws, you may want to consult with an experienced business attorney today.

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