Moving Toward Internet Compliance

U.S.-based companies selling to customers over the Internet are subject to U.S. export laws and regulations. They have a legal obligation to support prohibition of business transactions with certain entities and individuals. U.S. companies also have a legal obligation to support boycotts and trade embargoes of friends and allies.

You must obtain regulatory and advertising copy review for products and services sold over the Net. Internet sites must present information about products in a fair manner with an equal presentation of the benefits and risks of the product. Especially if you are marketing children’s products.

Products intended for children should:

  • not be sold directly to children on-line.
  • not invite a child to use a parent’s credit card for purchase.
  • address parental concerns.
  • Advertising products and/or services over the Net may be subject to country’s rules and regulations. Some countries require password protection for reimbursable product information. Disclaimer information may also be required for goods and services sold over the Net.

    Creditable references must be cited when making promotional claims. These references may be from journals, books and credible professional and/or government organizations.

    In general, a corporate employee should not be identified by name or image on a website. If identifying an employee by name or image on a site, you must obtain consent in writing utilizing an employee consent and release form.

    Once the site content and basic framework of the website is completed, the site content must be submitted to a “local” copy review. This process is similar to content review that is distributed to a designated receiving audience (i.e., print brochure content reviews).

    Hosting and technical compliance requirements must also be addressed in accordance with the established network and computing services guidelines.

    Review the company’s recommended conventions for site hosting in a shared or dedicated infrastructure. Ensure the Web services provided are compatible to established network and computing services guidelines and procedures.

    At the conclusion of this stage the major compliance components should be in place and the website prototype is ready for development.

    Site Development

    The Internet site owner works with the site developer and the deployment teams to develop a site utilizing corporate infrastructure and application guidelines.

    If using a third-party vendor, it is strongly advisable third-party developers and/or server host locations use software and hardware platforms that would be easily transportable to an in-house environment. This facilitates an easier transfer, should the operating company decide to bring an existing production website in-house.

    Hosting site technical security issues must be addressed to ensure compliance requirements are met. Legal issues surrounding any third-party development and/or hosting contracts must also be established and in place with the appropriate approvals and signoffs.

    Websites should be developed utilizing corporate infrastructure and application guidelines. It is recommended that all websites comply with the guidelines set forth by corporate network and computing services.