Here are 3 answers to must-know internet law questions:
Question #1: My website contains content or sells products that are intended for adults. How do I protect my company from liability if minors lie about their age in order to access my website?
It has always been a challenge for to incorporate age verification into websites that cater to adults.
One example is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Without parental consent, it is against regulations for websites to collect personally identifiable information from children under thirteen years old.
Even if your website is not designed to target children, you may be bound by COPPA regulations if you have actual knowledge that minors are accessing your website. To protect your company from liability issues, you need to prove to the legal body that you took precautions to limit your website’s appeal to minors:
- Take the design of your website into consideration. Make sure any graphics that are used will not appeal to a younger audience. The Federal Trade Commission considers the website design and intended audience to prevent deceptive or unfair marketing cases.
- Make certain that all notices and disclosures are visible and clear. You may want to include a notice upon arriving at the site that makes all users acknowledge the age policies of the site. You can also implement an additional step that requires users to actively give their acknowledgement and consent via an “I agree” button.
Question #2: What actions can I take against someone making false and misleading online posts about my company?
Oftentimes, businesses will hire people to spread false and misleading information about their competitors online to drive clients to themselves. One method to mitigate the effects of a false and negative online presence is to remove your website from the index of search engines.
Spreading false information with the intention to cause harm to their reputation or damage to their sales is a violation of civil law. In the event that your company will enter a business defamation or trade libel lawsuit, you need prove:
- The defendants made a false and negligent statement of fact, with malicious intent, that caused material or repetitional harm to your company.
- The statements were made about your company
Question #3: How do I reduce my company from liability in the event my website gets hacked and information is stolen?
Website security breaches, or hacking, can cause damaging effects on a company’s sales and reputation. However, there are certain federal laws, in addition to specific state laws that govern security breaches. Two main federal laws are commonly used in unauthorized security breach lawsuits:
- The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFFA): The CFFA is a federal law that prohibits unauthorized access to computers and networks.
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): The GLBA is concerned with the safeguarding of personal financial data. It requires certain companies to explain their information-sharing practices to customers and to safeguard their sensitive data.
An extra precaution for commercial websites would be to consult an attorney before website launch to ensure that all website policies accurately reflect their interests. Establishing a long-term legal counsel may also help limit liability and protect your company for years to come.
Mollaei Law is a business law firm serving businesses and entrepreneurs. We can help with all of your business needs including tailoring legal documents for your business, reviewing and drafting contracts, negotiating, business planning, setting up business entities, and helping with any of your business transactional forms.