Updated: Jul 20, 2022
The world of technology is rapidly evolving every day. At the forefront of these developments is the issue of Data and Privacy on the internet. How should companies handle data and ethics in data? While there is no correct answer, this article outlines 5 things you need to do on your website to stay ahead of the curve on new data regulations and laws.
1. Read the WFA Report
"Data Ethics - The Rise of Morality in Tech" by Jamie Barnard from the WFA (World Federation of Advertisers).
The report is broken down into 5 Key Sections:
1. The Case For Action
"A 1% Increase in Brand Trust = A 3% Growth In Value"
2. Cultural Transformation
"We must match the innovation in data and technology with transformation in our behavior - as a global community, we must agree new rules of engagement."
3. Case Studies in Digital Marketing
"Re-evaluate your precision and performance marketing strategy to ensure that you are targeting audiences in an ethical manner, taking particular care around sensitive characteristics like race, religion, and health."
4. Data Ethics Principles
"The data ethics principles we should all be thinking about are: respect, fairness, accountability, and transparency."
"As we integrate technology solutions into our operations, we must hold our partners and suppliers to account for their use of data, just as we are accountable for our use of their products."
This report will help you to understand the ethics and morality behind data usage and what you should be thinking about in forming your own data practices in your company.
2. Know the Laws and Regulations
There are currently 3 states in the United States with laws for data and online privacy. Those states are California, Virginia, and Nevada. Colorado is set to become the 4th state with data laws this year (2021). In general, many states adopt similar regulations to the California laws as they are the most comprehensive and are also similar to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) out of the EU (European Union). You can read about the GDPR here:
The important thing to note is that you MUST comply with the laws of the geography that your website/ app is operating in. If you have a customer that uses your site in London, then you are responsible for following the regulations of the GDPR. If you have a client in California, then you are subject to the regulations of the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and the CRPA (California Privacy Rights Act) which amends the CCPA.
We advise that you adhere to the regulations that are most strict, which happens to be the CCPA and the GDPR, so that you have al of your bases covered.
Read up on the CCPA here:
By reading and knowing the regulations in different areas, you can make sure that you are compliant in every geography that your company operates digitally.
https://www.shopify.com/tools/policy-generator (Shopify has one built in)
A way to contact the company about privacy
The true and legal information of the company including address, and email
A contact name
What kinds of data you or your technology collects
How you store that data
What you use the data for
How a person can opt out/ request removal of their data
4. Have a Working Cookie Opt-In Banner
You have to have a working cookie opt-in on your site that DEFAULTS to opt-out if a web user does not interact with it on your site. The default should not be to opt-in.
A cookie banner looks something like this:
Notice that the cookie banner has 6 distinct parts:
A "settings" link, which gives you the option to toggle on and off certain cookies
A "Decline All" button which declines all cookies
An "Accept" button which accepts all cookies
An "x" or exit, to remove the notice - which by default declines all cookies
It is important that your cookie banner has all of these elements and is easy to understand.
When the "Settings" button is clicked on our cookie-banner, the user has the option to toggle on or off certain cookies, and it is FUNCTIONAL, meaning the site actually turns off or on certain cookies depending on what the user chooses. Here's what our's looks like:
We have grouped cookies into different "buckets" including:
Essential Cookies - These cookies enable core functionality such as security, verification of identity and network management. These cookies can’t be disabled.
Marketing Cookies - These cookies are used to track advertising effectiveness to provide a more relevant service and deliver better ads to suit your interests.
Functional Cookies - These cookies collect data to remember choices users make to improve and give a more personalized experience.
Analytics Cookies - These cookies help us to understand how visitors interact with our website, discover errors and provide a better overall analytics.
Each of these can be toggled on or off by the user (except for functional cookies.)
While this is not a required aspect of a cookie banner on a website, we highly recommend it, as it fosters more trust through transparency and choice.
It is usually easy to put the cookie-opt in and the advanced cookie settings on your site. Below are the common ways to implement these functionalities based on your CMS (Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.)
For Wix, follow these instructions.
For Squarespace, follow these instructions.
For Shopify, go to their approved 3rd party apps.
5. Be Transparent and Consistent with your Organization's Name
This one is easy... well it should be. Make sure that you represent your organization transparently and consistently by providing the true and accurate name of your business across ALL platforms.
Make sure that:
You have your full business name (without Corp, or LLC is fine)
Your social media names are consistent with your website.
All your business names on the web MATCH legal documentation you have filed with: Your state's secretary of state, your bank, the IRS, your local business licenses, etc.
If you have a parent company or a DBA, make sure that is CLEAR to all customers and web users.
We hope this information is helpful to you and your organization. To watch the full Marketing Tip Tea Time at 2:22 Episode, watch https://www.facebook.com/ZovaMarketing/videos/1816854498490424