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Privacy Laws, Cookie Sweeps, and Data Breaches; What? Me Worry?

James Chiodo, Certified Information Privacy Professional CIPP/US

Remember the good old days when you could put up a website and do your thing without too much concern or worry? Well, those days are gone. Unless you have been living under a rock, the Internet has been ambushed by regulators from almost every corner of the planet.

Here is just a partial list of the enforcers:

  • FTC Criminal Liaison Unit
  • California’s Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
  • Global Privacy Enforcement Network
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • European Data Protection Authorities
  • Digital Advertising Alliance
  • Spanish Data Protection Authority (AEPD)
  • Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP)
  • Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés or CNIL

Don’t get me wrong, much of this is necessary and helps protect users visitors and customers to websites. That said, some of the new regulations and laws for website and blog owners are clearly the creation of politicians and lawmakers who are trying to look good in the public eye and have no understanding about the technical obstacles the laws and regulations they are passing are creating for online operators.

How do they expect the average website or blog owner to comply with laws they themselves do not clearly define. Furthermore, none of the above agencies provide well-drafted templates for online operators to use. Yes, they give instructions and guidelines, however, those instructions and guidelines are in some cases interpreted differently by attorneys.

However, at the end of the day, if you operate a website or blog, you might as well get used to it and try to comply with the new regulations. The alternative is fines, lawsuits and other litigation from government regulatory agencies, users and customers.

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