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Privacy Concerns Online Increasing Daily!

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A major issue for small to medium sized business online is PRIVACY if they collect information from visitors to their site. New laws are being passed that require site operators to maintain the privacy of surfers that provide personal information to site owners. A law recently came into effect called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that can lead to fines of $15,000 for non-compliance PER VIOLATION. Sites that collect information from children under 13 are required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to get “verifiable parental permission” before collecting ANY information from kids.

The approach adopted recently by many online businesses doing the CYA dance to avoid hefty fines imposed by the FTC for COPPA compliance violations is to “lock-out” children under 13 from all accounts.

Online privacy and safety for children is advanced significantly by COPPA, but because there are few obvious solutions to the protection of data collected online (witness DoubleClick debacle recently) massive “free” services (like Hotmail) find themselves facing fines for sharing information with third party advertisers about children.

So far, the answer has been to “dump the kids” from those online services that don’t cater specifically to children. Those small businesses that count on kids for major portions of their audience, like game sites and homework services could quickly be put out of business by the law.

If your online business gathers any information from children under 13 and you want to stay on top of the news, I’m sure you will find this site a valuable resource. http://www.coppa.org

And it’s not just children you should be concerned about. Privacy laws are being considered for adults as well. The following is a from today’s Internet World News 5/15/2000

“The 40-member Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security was directed to give advice to the Federal Trade Commission on how Web sites should handle personal data collected about consumers. The committee, which held four public meetings this year, released its final report Monday. The FTC, which appointed the advisory panel, will report to Congress this month on whether laws are needed to regulate online privacy. At that time, the FTC will also present official findings from its most recent survey of privacy policies at commercial Web sites.” –Kathleen Murphy

You can find out more about this issue by going to

http://www.coppa.org

and subscribing to their newsletter and review the site and the news links provided. A solution to new privacy laws for small business is discussed at the coppa.org site also.

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers http://seoptimism.com/SEO_Staff_Training.htm
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at
http://WebSite101.com and blogs about SEO at http://RealitySEO.com
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.

Privacy Concerns Online Increasing Daily!
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    In todays globalized society, privacy is paramount. You need to watch at every turn to be sure you privacy remains safe.

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