Company Websites and the Need for Online Privacy Statements
By: Steven J. Olsen, J.D.
Businesses today understand that maintaining a company website is a vital element to a fully integrated marketing portfolio. A business website can vary in complexity to meet the diverse interests and purposes for creating and maintaining the website. Some websites are purely informative and operate as a page for sharing information from the business. Others permit users of the website to engage in one-way communication to the company or to log-in to secure private accounts. Some even permit two-way communication between the company and website users. A company may, under any of the above formats, collect information from the users of their website.
Information collected by websites ranges from data intentionally and voluntarily provided by the user to the business (i.e. completed submissions forms or two-way communications) to information collected by the business without user knowledge (i.e. cookies, web logs, or web beacons). Businesses that do not engage in any form of collecting information from users of their website are not required to have a privacy statement on their website. All other businesses should develop a privacy statement that can be conspicuously placed (often through a hyperlink at the bottom of the homepage) on the company website.
Disclaimer: These materials are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. We recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that your interpretation of these materials is appropriate to your particular situation.
© Yoder Ainlay Ulmer & Buckingham, LLP [March 2013]