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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Privacy Policy for Bloggers

Jerry Kidd by GRI Instructor Jerry Kidd, GRI, CRS, CRB
Teaches GRI Course 107 - Real Property, Tax and Exchanging
View future classes taught by Jerry Kidd

One of those things that seem to have been forgotten by many REALTORS® is that as operators of web sites and blogs we are governed by State law regarding privacy.

Specifically, the Online Privacy Protection Act. (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 22577(c).)

In part, this act states that The Online Privacy Protection Act (OPPA) applies to "operators," any person or entity that owns a commercial Web site or online service, and collects and maintains "personally identifiable information" as defined from a consumer residing in California.

You might ask if the law applies to REALTORS® (don't we always ask that one?) The answer is simple. Yes.

In fact CAR has gone to great lengths to educate you on this one through the use of a Legal Q&A entitled "Online Privacy Laws Affecting REALTORS®"

The Q&A goes to great lengths to explain what is required and how to do it. If you are operating your own blog and collect anything in the way of personally identifiable information, then you need to have a Privacy Policy that explains how you collect the information, what you do with it and who has access to it. (At a panel discussion at the recent NAR Conference in San Diego, one of the panelists, an attorney, stated that email addresses have been held by courts to be personally identifiable information.)

So, in simple terms, this means that your blog needs to have a Privacy Policy, AND you have to actually do the things that the policy lays out.

To take out some of the sting, CAR has generously provided a sample Privacy Policy that you are free to copy and use. They do recommend that you consult an attorney to make sure that the sample policy will provide you with the proper protection. But, it's a great starting place for you.

All you need to do is to create another page on your blog titled Privacy Policy and place the text of the policy on the page. Next, you have to actually implement what the policy lays out!

Here is a link to the Legal Q&A http://budurl.com/PrvcyPolicy. Read through the Q&A and you'll find the sample policy. You'll also find great info on other laws that affect your online business.

Stay safe out there!

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