Privacy in 2014 – Big Changes Your Company Needs to Plan for Now

Everyone is concerned about privacy, and people are only getting more vocal about it when it comes to events like the Christmas shopping Target scandal. This means big changes in 2014 from two different angles: legislation and self-regulation on the part of the industry. Here’s what to look out for so the changes don’t catch your company off guard.

Let’s start across the pond in Europe. The European Commission (EC) is still reeling from finding out that the NSA has spied on European citizens. Now they are calling for stricter policies when it comes to American businesses protecting the data of European citizens. This means changes to the safe harbor program, and while the government may not pass legislation requiring the changes, the FTC will no doubt be keeping an eye on things in order to maintain good business relations with our international business partners.

In the US, we have some state legislation to consider. California has instituted a “Do Not Track” rule. It’s going to be tough to institute for many websites. The site owner may be more than willing to follow the rules, but partners are tougher to control. Hopefully, California will be understanding and issue some warnings before the monetary penalties set in. Either way, just be mindful of what you are required to disclose by law.

Finally, watch out for more intervention by the Better Business Bureau. If you collect behavioral data and don’t disclose that fact in real time, you may be looking at penalties. The FTC is also looking to tighten the reigns, in particular when the privacy of a child is involved. Photos, videos, and GPS location are all considered to be personal information. If your site is going to collect anything like this from someone under the age of 13, you’ll need to have a way to get parental consent first.

With the heat bearing down from two different American agencies, as well as pressure to conform to the EC’s demands, businesses will have to make adjustments to how they handle privacy in 2014.