Electronic Privacy and Community Associations
Community associations, like many organizations, have caught the technology wave and are increasing their reliance upon the lnternet and other digital media for conducting business. As more and more of these associations migrate information from paper to electronic bytes, the specter of electronic privacy looms large. There are several legal and practical issues relating to electronic privacy that community association managers and board members should become familiar with as they conduct digital business via the Internet.
Back in 2012, I wrote an article on this subject which can be accessed here. A synopsis can be found below.
A community association may look to the commercial industry to see how it is responding to electronic privacy issues. A review of web hosting and virtual community association company websites reveals “best practices” policies regarding protection of electronic privacy and personal identifiable information. Such protocols include:
1. Strong firewall systems that provide defense against hacking by third-parties;
2. Assurances that all electronic information is kept confidential and never provided to any unauthorized persons;
3. All electronic information must be provided voluntarily with consent;
4. All electronic information may only be used pursuant to agreed upon and authorized purposes;
5. Set schedules to ensure accuracy of the electronic information; and
6. Establish retention and deletion schedules and policies.
Electronic privacy and security of personal identifiable information is a hot topic for community associations. Though there is a little formal guidance or laws for associations to follow, there are sound practices and other guidance offered by the business industry. A community association relying upon the lnternet, or other digitized systems for conducting business, should ensure it, or the company responsible for such services, follows proper protocols to protect its members and itself from unwarranted risk and legal liability.
Feel free to contact me or one of the other attorneys at Barker Martin if you have a question relating to electronic privacy and community associations.