Privacy Policies?

Discussion in 'Web Hosting and Domain Names' started by StephanieCordray, Dec 20, 2005.

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  1. StephanieCordray

    StephanieCordray New Member

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    1,017
    Now, I never thought that a separate stated privacy policy was really needed for a hosting service but here's what brought on the question.

    We have a customer who has kept ownership of a particular site private. Someone called today demanding we tell him the site owner's name. Typically you can find out this kind of information through a simple whois, right? Now, with my understanding of privacy laws, I can't divulge that information without a court order requiring me to do so or having the customer's permission.

    I'm not in the business of selling informaton to third parties nor have I ever contemplated being in that business. I did tell the demanding person he should contact the site through the email posted on the site in question and if there are issues that violate our Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy or any laws that he could register a formal complaint with us and we would investigate. However, even at that point, we are not required to divulge our customers' private information.

    He kept coming back at me with "You won't" but to me it's an "I can't" issue.

    Who is right? If the site owner wanted that information public it would be, right? Do I have the right to divulge that information when the site owner has gone to some lengths to keep it private?
     
  2. SiteExpress

    SiteExpress New Member

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    280
    Steph,

    I would ask yourself a few questions.

    1. Even if the law permits, do you want to divulge the info? You clearly do not have to do it without a court order.

    2. Has the person stated why he wants the info? If your client is doing something he should not be, then you can simple handle your client in whatever way you choose, and then tell the other person something like, "It's been taken care of."

    3. Who is this person that wants the info, and what are their intentions? If they have not provided you with reasonable explaination, and proof, then maybe they are up to no good, in which case, wouldn't you then be liable for any actions as a result?


    My opinion on the matter is this.

    I will not give out any info on my clients, other than their web address. If my client does not have his info published, then he surely does not expect me to hand it out. I am under no obligation to give out information, unless ordered by legal means. if my client was doing something he was not supposed to be doing, then he is in violation of TOS, and therefore can be dealth with, and in the process, eliminate me from any further liability.
     
  3. StephanieCordray

    StephanieCordray New Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    1. Even if the law permits, do you want to divulge the info? You clearly do not have to do it without a court order. No

    2. Has the person stated why he wants the info? If your client is doing something he should not be, then you can simple handle your client in whatever way you choose, and then tell the other person something like, "It's been taken care of." The reasons given were copyrighted material but nothing specific at which time I advised the person to file a formal complaint so we could look into the matter.

    3. Who is this person that wants the info, and what are their intentions? If they have not provided you with reasonable explaination, and proof, then maybe they are up to no good, in which case, wouldn't you then be liable for any actions as a result?He didn't see fit to tell me what his intentions are.

    Ethically, it will never happen that someone can ask me something like that and get the answer they want but I'm thinking that if the site owner went the extra steps to keep information about site ownership private, I don't have the right to divulge the information without consent of said owner. If I had given out that information without express permission of the customer, then I would be violating privacy laws for divulging information the customer wished to be kept private, with or without an express privacy policy.

    If the site owner had not kept the information private I could have told the inquiring individual to do a simple whois to find out what he wanted to know. Basically what that person was saying was since I had no formal privacy policy I wasn't under any legal restraints against divulging that information but I think differently since the owner doesn't have that information publicly accessible.
     
  4. SiteExpress

    SiteExpress New Member

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    280
    Great to hear that you are not giving him what he wants.

    However, I would suggest some sort of Privacy Policy. the reason being is this. As long as you have one, you have something to fall back on. Whether your policy states that you will or won't give it out, at least you have something. Mine states that we may give out information, for specific reasons. My reasoning was this. I am still not obligated to hand over information, BUT if I choose to do so, my clients were at least aware that there was a chance of it. That way they can never come back on me for releasing it, and nobody can still ever force me to release it.
     
  5. StephanieCordray

    StephanieCordray New Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    I thought the TOS covered it well enough but I'm guessing not now. I will be drafting a formal privacy policy asap. I have put up a "makeshift" one in the meantime.

    I can't ever see a reason why I should have to give that information without a court order saying I must, except for reporting of illegal activities which are covered under the TOS, but I suppose it has to be spelled out.
     
  6. SiteExpress

    SiteExpress New Member

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    280
    LOL, The sad truth is, that you have to design any legal issues for children, because that is how a person will approach you, is with childish expectations.
     
  7. StephanieCordray

    StephanieCordray New Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    You're right about that.

    I also checked with someone legal and, no, I don't have the legal right to divulge that information no matter how much that idiot kept saying, "You won't..." or "You're not willing..." when I kept telling him, "I can't..."
     
  8. SiteExpress

    SiteExpress New Member

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    280
    Then, there ya go. next time, tell him he can go take a leap. LOL
     
  9. StephanieCordray

    StephanieCordray New Member

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    1,017
    lol, yup. I don't think there will be another time... I have a rough draft of a privacy policy already... should have an official draft soon.
     

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