We all use the internet, some with more caution than others. It is a great way to get our businesses out there and in front of our consumers, and it is becoming easier and more acceptable to sell products and services online. There are so many that wouldn’t even think twice about doing so.

The scary thing about the internet is that there are no limits on the availability and accessibility to your website, your data, and your intellectual property – even when acting within the bounds of reasonableness. All the while having a responsibility to your customers and contacts to comply with privacy laws and ensure that all of your data is stored with proper purpose and securely.

You can inform your consumers of your privacy policy and post terms of use to your website to cover how you interact through your website. You can also watermark your intellectual property to try to stem unauthorised use. However, the stats on cybercrime laws, online consumer protection legislation and e-transaction laws are quite worrying, especially if you are a global brand.

Have you done the research on each country that your brand reaches?

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have published some figures following their global mapping of cyberlaw research, “Global Cyberlaw Tracker” initiative, including:

  • 137 out of 194 countries had put in place legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy.
  • 156 countries (80 per cent) have enacted cybercrime legislation, the pattern varies by region: Europe has the highest adoption rate (91 per cent) and Africa the lowest (72 per cent).
  • Out of 142 countries for which data are available, 115 have adopted legislation on consumer protection related to e-commerce. That share varies from 78% in Europe to 52% in Africa and 71% in the Americas.

More detail on e-commerce and law reform in this space, and more stats in this area can be found on the UNCTAD’s website here.

Stacey Brennan