Legal Matters IT Managers Need to Be Aware Of – Part 2/2

Yesterday we looked at some of the legal issues IT Managers need to be aware of. Today we look at the second half of the list.

E-Business Transactions

Transactional Web sites need to be designed to reflect electronic commerce laws, privacy laws, and consumer protection statutes. If this is not done, at the very least the business will suffer because of the lack of user friendliness of the site. The business may also be liable for things like errors on the site, finding itself forced to make consumer refunds or be liable for sanctions for breaching regulatory requirements.


All Canadian provinces have privacy laws, as do many other countries. These laws may be general in nature or specific to certain industry sectors or activities. If an organization fails to have a privacy policy that complies with the relevant legislation, or to comply with the requirements of applicable legislation, it can expose itself to civil and criminal penalties and public embarrassment for the improper collection, use, and dissemination of personal information. In places where there are no privacy laws, government authorities often use other consumer protection laws such as truth in advertising laws, to achieve a similar effect. And keep in mind that privacy laws require much more than having a privacy policy. They usually require things such as security measures, education requirements, and limits on data retention.

Online Promotions

It is not unusual for organizations to try to attract traffic by giving away items or running promotional contests on their Web sites. The laws of various jurisdictions restrict and control lotteries and gaming in different ways. Those laws affect how promotions must be handled on a Web site, as well as promotions generally, and can lead to criminal sanctions. Great care must be taken when running such promotions. The organization may want to limit the availability of such promotions to those within jurisdictions for which they have had a legal review of the requirements.

Third-Party Material

A Web site that posts third party material or that allows others to post material must be cognizant of its liability for copyright infringements. In U.S., for example the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for specific requirements, notices and procedures. Failure to follow those can result in civil and criminal liability. Even absent such specific legislation, care must be taken to ensure that copyright violations are not taking place, or taking steps to ensure that the organization is not responsible for them.


Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have been asked to contribute an occasional post to the Canadian IT Manager blog. It is run by Microsoft, and includes content by independent professionals. My first post yesterday was 1 of 2 parts on Legal Matters IT Managers…

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