The terms of FTC law enforcement actions apply just to the company in question and the proposed settlement with social network Myspace for alleged privacy-related glitches is no exception. But how should other businesses respond?
Some will scan the headline to make sure their company isn’t named and then do that fingers-in-the-ears la-la-la thing. But savvy executives know that understanding where another company might have gone wrong is a good way to keep their company in the right. What tips can your business take from the FTC’s settlement with Myspace and other recent privacy cases?
Default lines. Myspace’s default settings allowed users’ full names to be publicly accessible. Of course, each site is different, but give your default settings serious consideration. Don’t make those decisions by, uh, default. If people have choices about what information will be shared, make it easy for them to understand how and where they can exercise their options.
May I take your order? Once a company is under FTC order, compliance is legally enforceable. But many provisions in recent orders just make good business sense and cost next to nothing to put in place. For example, the Myspace order, requires the company to designate someone to be responsible for implementing and carrying out the mandated privacy program. Of course, data security and privacy are every employee’s responsibility. But now that you’re building them into your daily operations, doesn’t it make sense for businesses of all sizes to name an in-house point person to coordinate those efforts?