Marketing and Privacy Law - What You Need to Know

There is no doubt that the internet has fostered nothing short of a revolution the way a lot of businesses are practiced. Marketing is certainly not an exception. The explosion of the internet population as well as websites available on the internet has created opportunities but not without creating attendant challenges. E-commerce has experienced and is still seeing a boom today as more people get involved while others are integrating their businesses with the internet. Today, buyers and sellers are connected from one nook of the world to another cranny via various media like text, video and audio among others.

One of the major challenges facing marketing today is the issue of anonymity as it pertains to the people who are behind the marketing efforts. Businesses in all fields are ranging from financial services, consumer products, software, home services among many others abound on the internet. All of these demand information in one way or the other from the users or visitors to their respective sites. By providing these information to the enterprises without knowing exactly who that information is being given to or with whom it might be shared, the privacy of the users is being invaded and even abused. The result over time has been issues like spam mail as well as other kinds of shady and underhand marketing and advertising practices.

These issues have spurred the various governments both local and national to take action via legislation to combat these unwholesome practices. This legislation affects the practice of marketing and also protect consumer privacy while aiming to ensure that advertising and marketing are practiced fairly and truthfully online. They are centered around the fundamental principles that marketing must not mislead customers rather, it must tell the truth as well as make sure that claims are substantiated.

In a report which it issued in June 1998, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) titled; Online Privacy: A Report to Congress, the Commission noted that only 14% of the commercial sites among those randomly sampled bothered to provide the consumers with notice of the personal information they were collecting or how they intended to use the information. The report also revealed that over 85% of all websites collected personal information from consumers. In another report released by the FTC two years later, in May 2000, the Commission noted that four fair information practices were practiced by just 20% of the websites randomly sampled. These fair information practices include; choice, security, access and notice.

Privacy legislation has been enacted in various jurisdictions across the world to protect the online citizenry. Some of this legislation include the following: