Eight global trends that could reshape your online business in 2014

In the internet world of accelerating change, law reforms are being proposed and passed at breakneck speed.


Much of the focus in Australia is on risk management as the internet is difficult to monitor and regulate. But with many disputes coming from overseas business sites, Australia is looking to the global initiatives in many of their proposals.


Plus there is a large increase in online Australian businesses expanding offshore so it hard to ignore what’s going on in the rest of the world, especially if it may affect your business.


Be prepared and plan ahead by watching out for some of the upcoming trends:


1. Privacy laws


Privacy requirements for your business have and continue to be in the forefront of most western countries. The onus is now on business owners to ensure they know what their service providers are doing with respect to keeping and sharing your customers and business data both on and offshore.


As well, you will need to be able to answer to both customers and regulators on the security measures your website ‘providers’ have in place for collection, storage and transmission of business and personal information. (More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website.)


2. Cookies policies and active notifications


Notification requirements are being reviewed and regulation is making more business owners obtain active consents where certain customer information is collected and customer behavior is recorded. This means you need to know when you need your customer to actively agree to your terms rather than just post them on your website.


It will also impact what your business collects, why you collect it and what you do with it. And if you are collecting information from cookies placed on your visitors or customers computers, be sure to notify them and actually be using it in your business analysis-otherwise you may find yourself breaching other laws such as the new Australian Privacy Principles.


3. Copyright reform


Make sure you know where your content and images come from. This is becoming an increasingly monitored (and complained about) issue with the increase in ‘sharing’ in social media.


The Australian Law Reform Commission report and recommendations to the Attorney General on this reform should be made public in March 2014 – watch this space.


4. New cyber security laws


The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) are trying to work on new policies to address cyber crime. The EU is working on reforms to get member countries to agree to have compulsory reporting of cyber attack crimes to national authorities. They want to have an arrangement that countries will give up nationals who commit such crimes against EU or US but this is meeting some resistance. All in all, a good initiative to protect your business!


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