Santa Rosa Website Design Geek Tip: Failure to address this could get you in hot water under California state law. Yet, when it comes to web design, Santa Rosa, I’ll bet it’s the last thing you want to think about!

It’s the law you’ve never heard of. It pertains to stuff no one wants to read (well, almost no one…) But please try to stay awake long enough to read this post so you can avoid legal action by a user of your website or a government agency.

I’m talking about the California Online Privacy Protection Act, or CalOPPA. This law, passed in 2003, applies to any business operating a website accessible to people within the State of California. Specifically, it applies to any website that collects information about users or permits third parties to collect personal information about consumers who use the site.

Does that apply to your website? It probably does if:

  1. Your site features a webform for users to send you a message or sign up for your email list, blog, newsletter, etc. OR…
  2. You use Google Adwords, Facebook advertising or other similar marketing programs that track site visitors’ behavior—even though you may not personally be tracking it.

If the above applies to you, CalOPPA requires that you post your privacy policy “conspicuously” on your website. Which, to my dismay as a Santa Rosa web design professional, actually dictates a position on the home page. Sheesh! (I buried mine at the bottom of our home page, but followed the law by making it stand out with red font…)

If you have trouble sleeping, and want a real yawner, you can read the guide to this law put together by State Attorney General Kamala Harris.

You can always choose to ignore this law (most website owners don’t even know about it…) But continued, willful “violation can result in penalties of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in county jail or state prison for up to one year.”

You have been warned!