Privacy, Security, and Legal Issues
Considering Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are essential considerations for e-business. The number of security breaches continues to grow and even companies as large and well-known as LinkedIn, Google, and Yahoo have all fallen victim to high-profile security breaches that have exposed their users’ personal information.
Therefore, it is critical that safeguards are in place to enhance protection of personal customer information and sensitive business information.
Considering Security and Privacy
Some common security threats include:
• Spam - unsolicited e-mail messages.
• Viruses - programs that are designed to multiply and harm other programs on your computer.
• Phishing - an e-mail message is sent that looks like it comes from an official source but links in the message go to a phony site where you may be asked to disclose personal information.
• Theft of computers or information (or both).
E-Business Service Providers
E-business service providers generally provide a number of security safeguards to help protect information. You need to be aware of these features.
• Anti-virus software and support.
• Firewall installation and support. (Note that a firewall separates one part of a network from another).
• Hardening servers and computers (ensuring that system and computer settings are set at appropriate security levels).
• Spam or intrusion detection.
• Service Level Agreement: Identifies how quickly the service provider will respond to security problems and the types and level of follow-up support.
• Encryption: Sensitive information should be encrypted or coded to protect it.
• A modern browser; the newer versions offer more protections.
• A few key browser add-ons (extra features, such as toolbars, that you can add to your browser) can help to avoid hacking.
• Authentication features: These include password policies, account lockout policies and password protected screensaver.
• Have you checked to see what security safeguards are included in your Service Level Agreement with your ISP, web host, web developer?
• Do you have firewall installation and support to prevent unauthorized access to the computer and server?
• Do you use spam filters?
• Are you careful to open e-mails (and attachments) only from known sources?
• Do you regularly back up important data? Do you regularly test your back-up system?
• Do your computers have passwords to protect against unauthorized access?
• Do you have an anti-virus program installed on your computer(s)? Is this kept up to date?
• Do you regularly back-up your software?
• Do you have a security policy in place?
• Do you adequately protect your laptops and/or computer(s) from theft?
• Do you use the Internet safely? (e.g. browse trusted sites)
You should have a security policy in place that details how personal information and critical business information will be protected.
It should describe how data will be collected and used.
By law, your customer’s privacy must be protected.
For example, if you contact your customers on a regular basis (through an e-newsletter for example) you should give them the option to opt-out from receiving this correspondence.
Intellectual Property (IP) is an area of law that protects ideas. With respect to the Internet there are generally four areas of Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademarks, Domain Names, and Patents. This course will briefly describe the first three areas.
If you are setting up a simple website that provides information about your business then one of your primary considerations is protecting your company’s Intellectual Property.
Copyright is the right to make a copy and applies to pictures and written materials on your website. It can also relate to computer codes used to create computer programs.
• Do you have the right to use all the materials (including text and images) on your website?
• Have you obtained permission for the use of any copyright material (including information found on the Web)?
• Do you have an agreement with your web developer with respect to copyright? Your web developer may have copyright over the material on your website (information and images).
If you want to own the copyright to the work contained on your website, you will need to have a written agreement that transfers the copyrights to you.
Trademarks are names or marks that are associated with your products and services.
If you have a unique name for your business or product you should seek advice from an experienced trademark lawyer.
A domain name (a term often used interchangeably with “URL”) is a reader-friendly representation of a collection of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
Domain names should be carefully selected so that you do not violate the trademark of another business. Consult a lawyer if you think you might be infringing on another company’s trademark. Your domain name should not include the name of another company or product.
Your business is subject to the laws of any jurisdiction in which you seek to sell your products or services.
The rules for forming a contract can vary from one jurisdiction to another, and there may be special rules for online contracts. It is important to consider those requirements when deciding where to do business online and with whom.
• Does your website define the geographical area of your sales territory?
• Are you aware of the laws in the jurisdiction(s) where you would like to sell? For example, in some jurisdictions where a credit card is used, the purchaser can deny the agreement because the credit card is not physically present at the time of the sale. This can result in more “chargebacks”. A chargeback occurs when the customer asks the credit card company to reverse the charges.
• Are you aware of the rules for forming contracts online in the jurisdiction you would like to sell?
• Have you obtained appropriate accounting, tax and legal advice?
Most jurisdictions have legislation in place to protect consumers from unethical business practices.
It is important that you know what taxes apply to various products and services you may be selling.
Have you obtained tax advice on which taxes apply to the product or service you are selling to ensure that you are meeting your legal obligations?
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