Most businesses large and small collect some type of digital information from consumers or prospective customers. Once your company collects sensitive information, you must be very careful how you store, use, and disclose that information. There are a number of data privacy laws with which you must comply and violating such laws can result in serious consequences.
Data privacy laws are complicated as there are many different and scattered applicable regulations instead of one comprehensive regulatory scheme. These laws can apply to different types of consumer information and you should always discuss your specific information collection with an experienced attorney who can advise you regarding legal compliance. The following are some laws that may apply to your digital consumer data collection:
- Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act)
- The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)
- The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
- The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM)
- The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for any medical information
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) for financial information
In addition, there are numerous state and international laws that address data privacy.
Violations of Data Privacy Laws
Non-compliance with data privacy laws can lead to problems with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Texas Attorney General’s office. If an investigation uncovers violations, your company may face civil penalties and sanctions. The government may then want to supervise an overhaul of your data privacy procedures to ensure that your business will be in full compliance will all relevant laws going forward.
If a violation resulted in a cybersecurity incident, the consumers whose data was released may take legal action against your company. Such cases may involve numerous consumers and can result in costly litigation and civil judgments against your company.
While facing civil penalties or data breach lawsuits can be costly, perhaps the most serious consequence of data security issues is the hit to your company’s reputation. Cybersecurity problems can lead consumers to believe that your company does not take their privacy and security seriously. News can spread fast regarding a security breach and you may lose business. It is easier to ensure compliance from the beginning to prevent a data security breach than it is to rebuild a reputation. Knowing about data privacy laws will not only protect your business from civil or legal liability but can also protect your reputation and your bottom line.
Find Out How a Houston Business Attorney Can Help You
Consumer data privacy and security is only one of many legal issues that company owners face. Whether you are a new or established business, large or small, you will likely have numerous legal questions and issues along the way. You need a Houston business lawyer you can trust who is ready to provide long-term advice and representation. If you need assistance, please call The Weisblatt Law Firm at (713) 666-1981 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you and your company.
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt
Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel. Attorney Bio