The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office has published a pair of guides about holding personal information online. The first guide is a Code of Practice aimed at organisations, particularly, those that sell goods and services over the web and is to help them understand the data protection law and develop good practice. The second is for individuals and is Protecting Your Personal Information Online.
The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent body setup to promote and police the UK’s information legislation including the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
The new Code of Practice has several sections including how the law applies, how to operate internationally, individuals’ rights and pitfalls to avoid. It also includes a number of special cases, e.g. when dealing with children.
The personal guide provides information on protecting your personal info and identity, online scams, cookies, browser settings and social networks. Definitely worth a read, even if you are not UK-based. It’s all good sensible stuff.
What’s been stirring the media is that for the first time the ICO has commented on “behavioural marketing”, i.e. adverts are tailored to your browsing activity. There had been some debate about the legality of this but as long as its clear what is going on and the person can opt out, there’s no problem. There’s more information on behavioural marketing here.
Regardless of whether you are in the UK or elsewhere or whether you are a supplier or a customer, it’s worth giving both guides a browse.