Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Is Your Business's Online Content Illegal?

Many big companies have employees, or even departments, to specifically assess the risks and liabilities of the company. But, as a small business, you probably don't have the budget to have employees dedicated to risk management. One risk that's important to identity and address is the possibility of your business having illegal online content. According to the Business 2 Community article written on this topic, here are a few common ways that your business's content online may be violating laws.

Not Meeting Accessibility Requirements

Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may not address online activity specifically, some courts have ruled that the law's requirements apply to the digital world as well as to the physical world. One example of how to comply with the ADA is to make sure that any videos posted on your business's website have captions so that those with hearing loss can access the videos. Another example is to make sure the background and text of your website makes it easy to read for those with poor vision.

Content Marketing Practices

If your business uses gated content to build email lists (making an offer to customers in exchange for their email address), then it's important that you're mindful of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is set to go into effect in May 2018. The law basically prohibits companies from using personal data that's collected for one purpose to be used for any other purpose without explicit permission from the customer. While this law has been passed by the European Union (EU), if you have an customers that are EU citizens or residents of the EU, the law would apply to your business as well.

Online Payment Requirements

If your business accepts payments online, you're required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), which were designed to secure the transmission and storage of payment data and fight data breaches. Ways to be in compliance with these standards include not storing customer data that isn't necessary, making sure any vendors you use to process payments are also in compliance, and not sending any payment data through any unencrypted channels.

As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats, but your number one priority is running the business. For this reason, it's helpful to consult with a lawyer to make sure that your business is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations so that you're free to focus on the business operations.

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