SuperWebPros on the Morning Blend – Issues in Online Privacy

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Mary:

Thanks for joining us on the morning blend. Jesse Flores is here, the Chief of Web Pro for Super Web Pros. Where’s Your Cape?

Jesse:

You know what, usually it’s a bow tie.

Mary:

Okay, that’s true. That’s true. You have taught us so much here on the blend. And I want to pick your brain on this a little bit because there’s so much going on about Facebook right now using people’s data, lots of people thinking about their online privacy. And especially if you’re a business owner, is this something you should be really concerned about?

Jesse:

Yea, it’s something we need to be thinking about. If you own a website or you do any business on the web, you should be thinking about it. Right now, this space is surprisingly unregulated. I tell you what though, I think the winds are starting to change in, in Europe right now, there is a lot of regulation coming down the pipeline and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see more and more of that coming down the pipeline here. So I would be looking to get ahead of this curve before it becomes a thing.

Mary:

Yeah, that makes sense. So what kinds of things are included in a privacy policy and how is that different from a terms of service agreement?

Jesse:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So a terms of service tends to be more over overarching and that talks about what are users agreeing to when they come to your site. It’s not necessarily a legal requirement and for that matter, neither are privacy policies, although that’s starting to change. Some states are starting to require privacy policies, California sticks out in my mind as one that is already requiring that if you collect information and that could be an email address, anybody that has a contact form collects information, right? If you collect information from users or you process payments, the state of California is starting to regulate what information or how that information ought to be handled and treated. And I’d expect other states to start to follow suit. The privacy policy focuses on how you’re going to use information. Are you going to market? Are you giving third party access? What are you doing with that contact information you collect? Whereas a terms of service is as a user, how are you expecting to interact? And that limits liability in a lot of cases.

Mary:

So much to learn. Now are these hard to create? Do I need to be a lawyer?

Jesse:

You know, you should probably have a lawyer review the one that you do create, but there’s lots of services online that allow you to create these either for free or for cheap. Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer, comes to mind. If you Google privacy policies and terms of service, you can typically find an organization that can build this for you in 15 minutes for like 10 or 15 bucks…worth the investment. Of course, get it reviewed by your attorney, too.

Mary:

Okay, beautiful. Now I know we talk about things so fast because there’s so much information, but you make this available to the public on your website.

Jesse:

I do. Yeah. So head over to superwebpros.com. Our mailing list has got all sorts of these things that we talk about, we’re putting out videos every week ourselves talking about these kinds of topics. We’re really trying to be a resource and to help the small businesses that are trying to figure out how to tackle this all right now.

Mary:

Right. Well, Jesse, thank you so much for joining us.

Jesse:

Thank you.

Mary:

That’s all our time now.

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Jesse Flores

Jesse if the Chief Web Pro at SuperWebPros. When he's not trying to see the future, you can find him in quiet contemplation, spending time with his family, or finding an excuse to be outside (in good weather).
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