What is The Online Privacy Protection Act

Issues around privacy on the world wide web affect users in many ways depending on the type of activities an individual engages in. For most folks it is the criminal threat relating to certain kinds of information that is a source of great concern, while others simply view anonymity as a critical aspect of their online presence.

Yet this digital domain is one theater on which virtual confidentiality is notoriously difficult to guarantee. As such regulation became a clear necessity to assist in the protection of people’s online privacy rights, hence the much anticipated enactment of the Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (OPPA).

The law is designed to lay the rules on how users’ personal information is handled by online services and commercial websites to which it is submitted, and also compels sites to place a privacy policy link.

The policy is expected to outline how users information collected on a given site may be shared with third parties (mainly the authorities when required).

Repercussions of not obliging with this law are properly stipulated in the Act, website owners can be slapped with legal action if they choose to ignore any official notification regarding rectification of the problem.

In the main, the Act serves to prevent dubious practices bent on undermining the integrity of users in one way or the other. And ultimately it is the government and private groups or individuals that can pursue these channels in a bid to ensure enforcement of the Act.

Personally identifiable information or details entail contact numbers such as postal or residential addresses, cell phone or telephone numbers, social security number, date of birth plus the first and last names.

It is therefore pertinent to practice caution whenever such details are required, implications of their abuse can range from identity theft, being targeted for unsolicited commercial communications like junk mail to more serious crimes such as credit card fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is known to institute enforcement actions against those found to be in contravention of the privacy policy regulations.

And some of the irregularities covered include the placement of logos or images as a hyperlink to a privacy policy without embedding the word privacy. Additionally, any site collecting your personally identifiable information should disclose in their privacy policy about which categories of this information is kept, how the details are used to identify you and also measures available for you to revise the information, etc.

This openness is critical for building online users confidence be it in terms of e-commerce activities or social networking exploits among others.