It’s isn’t easy to build and maintain a website. You have to figure out how to develop the site, get traffic, and convert the traffic to leads. Then there are the internet laws that govern everything.
Internet laws are always changing. Just this month, a new data privacy law went into effect in California. More state legislatures are debating privacy laws.
Plus, there are federal laws and European regulations that you need to be concerned about. How can you keep track of the internet laws?
Read this guide to learn what they are and how you can be sure you’re in compliance with them all.
What Are Internet Privacy Laws?
Your personal data is everywhere. The website you visit, the stores and places you visit, your payment information, address, are all online.
Whenever you visit a website and see an ad for that same website a few minutes later isn’t a coincidence. It’s because it’s a part of a campaign to get you to remember that brand or to make a purchase.
The internet can be a scary place, and it can be worse when your personal data is used for nefarious purposes or if your data falls into the wrong hands.
That’s why legislatures all over the world are trying to figure out how to protect citizens online while maintain the freedom of the internet.
These are some of the internet privacy laws that have come about in the last few years that all webmasters need to be aware of.
GDPR: This is a European regulation that is designed to give power and control back to internet users. They have the right to see what data is collected, why, and how it’s used. Consumers also have the right to see their personal data that is held and ask that it be deleted.
CCPA: This is the California Consumer Privacy Protection Act, which just went into effect. It’s modeled after GDPR, but it is for large tech companies.
Internet laws govern much more than privacy. These are some of the other laws that you need to be aware of.
There are a ton of companies that are trying to do good work online. There are others that are simply out to make a buck and do what it takes to do so.
Online fraud is rampant, which can cost businesses and consumers billions of dollars.
If you see online fraud as a problem in your workplace or you know that a certain person is committing online fraud, you should report it.
You’ll want to consult with an attorney like the LaBovick Law Group to see if you have protections under the Whistleblower Act.
Copyright and Intellectual Property Laws
This is one of the most talked about laws when it comes to having a website, and for good reason. Images and videos are more and more important to content creators.
Novice website developers and bloggers frequently grab images from a Google search, not realizing that a lot of those images are copyright protected.
If you publish copyrighted works, you could be sued by the rights holder. It’s not only images that you have to worry about.
Publishing content that someone else has published without permission could also violate those rights, too.
You want to make sure that you use a site like Pexels or Pixabay that allow you to use images for free under the Creative Commons 0 License. You could also take your own photos or pay for a stock image service.
When it comes to publishing content, always publish original content.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Do you know if your website is developed with accessibility in mind? If not, you could be violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s a law that predates the commercial usage of the internet that we see today.
The law protects the rights of people with disabilities to be able to enjoy public spaces and to protect their ability to work.
There is a big legal gray area around the usage of the website and whether or not they count as public spaces. Many websites aren’t set up for people with a visual disability to access and enjoy, which is almost a necessity in today’s world.
As a result, more people are suing companies with sites that don’t provide accessibility features on their sites.
You want to make sure that your site is compliant by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 3.0.
Main Street Cybersecurity Act
Cybersecurity is a huge concern for many businesses today. One breach could cost enough to force a business to close.
There aren’t laws that govern how businesses manage cybersecurity, but there is one on the books to help small businesses be prepared to beat hackers at their own game. That’s the Main Street Cybersecurity Act.
This law gives small businesses the tools and resources they need to have a more secure business.
Affiliate Site Laws
It’s commonplace for many bloggers and website publishers to have affiliate links on their site. On a site that gets a good amount of traffic, affiliate sales could lead to a nice source of income.
If you’re not familiar with affiliate links, it’s a link that leads to a retail site, such as Amazon. If a person clicks on the link, you get a commission from that sale.
These links are often in the form of recommendations, which really are advertisements since there’s a commission involved.
The Federal Trade Commission Sees it that way, too. It requires that all sites with affiliate links disclose that the links are affiliate links and that you get a commission.
The Changing Landscape of Internet Laws
As you can see, if you’re a business owner or web developer, there’s a lot more to building a site and driving traffic to it.
You also have to understand the internet laws that govern the online world. There are laws that are meant to protect user privacy and make the internet more accessible to all.
You have a responsibility to comply with these laws, which is why you need to know what they are. If you don’t understand them, you’re putting your business at risk. You could get fined heavily.
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