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Be careful marketing doesn’t also drive one of your company’s biggest risks: Online privacy litigation

Inside Counsel Deanna Conn

Following is an excerpt: 

Your company's marketing department is always interested in gathering data about your customers and potential customers — the more data, the better. The Internet allowed companies to track online activity for the first time to gain a direct understanding of what content was most interesting to customers. Tracking that data is great for getting to know your customers, driving product development and new features, but if you don’t know exactly what your marketing company is doing — particularly as it relates to data collection and use — you need to find out, and then make sure to update your privacy policy to disclose those practices.

Any time your company collects data, including combining data obtained from third parties, those practices should be clearly disclosed. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken an increasingly aggressive enforcement stance against companies that fail to clearly disclose the scope of their data collection and use practices. FTC privacy litigation can be divided into two general areas of prosecution: deception and unfairness.