It’s 2023. If you run a business, you have a website.
Websites are incredible tools for communicating our company’s brands to the world, for highlighting our products and services, and for making client engagement easier and faster.
This is trite. We all know the benefits of websites, and the important role they play in building and growing our businesses.
Few business owners, however, know that websites can also be a significant source of liability for small businesses.
- Consent: The policy must outline how the website obtains and records consent from individuals to collect, use, and disclose their personal information.
- Collection and Retention: It must specify the types of personal information collected and the length of time the information will be retained.
- Access and Correction: The policy must provide details on how individuals can access their personal information and request corrections if necessary.
- Third-Party Disclosure: If personal information is shared with third parties, the policy must disclose this and explain the purpose of such sharing.
- Contact Information: Businesses must provide contact details for inquiries or complaints about the handling of personal information.
Penalties for Non-Compliance:
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (OIPC) is responsible for enforcing the law. Some potential penalties for non-compliance include:
- Fines: The OIPC has the authority to impose fines on businesses found to be in violation of PIPA. The amount of the fine will depend on the nature and severity of the breach.
- Reputational Damage: Non-compliance with privacy laws can lead to a loss of trust among customers and the public, resulting in reputational damage that can be challenging to recover from.
- Limiting Liability: By including disclaimers and limitation of liability clauses, businesses can reduce their exposure to legal claims arising from the use of their website.
- Governing Law and Jurisdiction: Businesses can designate the applicable laws and jurisdiction in case of legal disputes, providing more control over potential litigation.
- Intellectual Property Infringement: Without explicit terms protecting intellectual property, users might misuse copyrighted content or infringe trademarks, leading to legal disputes.
- Unauthorized Activities: Lack of clear guidelines can result in users engaging in harmful activities, such as hacking, data breaches, or harassment, leaving the business vulnerable to legal action.
- Ambiguity in Dispute Resolution: Without specifying the governing law and jurisdiction, legal disputes could become more complex and costly to resolve.