Daily Archives: August 25, 2010

Social Media Softwate Update

Getting ready for the Online Privacy Code

I’ve written quite a bit on this blog about online privacy. When it comes to advertising, last year there was a lot of media attention given to behavioural targeting – where advertisers reach you based on your online behaviour. Advertising firm Phorm was at the centre of that furor, and they exited the UK late last year.

Then of course there was Google Street View, and the fear that it was invading personal privacies (and helping thieves to boot!). Last year we advised you all to add a privacy policy to your website, to make it clear what information you were collecting about visitors.

New Code of Practice

Well now it looks like Websites will have to stick to a new code of practice put in place by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The whole point is to make sure that your website visitor’s information is kept secure and private.

The Personal Information Online Code of Practice simply firms up the advice we gave with regard to having privacy policy. Websites need to make their privacy settings clear and store data securely. There are 8 principles for looking after personal information, but what it boils down to is that only specific, relevant data can be gathered, if a website doesn’t needs the personal information, then it must not hold onto it longer than necessary.

For example, if a company no longer needs your email address or credit card details, they’re obliged to delete them.

If you have a log in to your site, the privacy settings must be well highlighted.

A representative of the ICO said: “Organisations must be transparent so that consumers can make online privacy choices and see how their information will be used.”

“Individuals can take control by checking their privacy settings and being careful about the amount of personal details they post to social-networking sites and elsewhere online,” he continued.

If websites fail to abide by the code, they could be forced to do so by the ICO.

What about you?

Have you put a privacy policy on your site? Do you think that fears over online privacy are overblown? Leave us a comment below.

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