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Your website or App will often be the first impression that a customer, supplier or investor has of your business. It is therefore important that from a legal and regulatory perspective you get it right. This is not always a straightforward task and the GDPR has added a layer of complexity for the operations of all websites and Apps on top of which was already a fairly complicated regulatory landscape. We are here to help you navigate through that landscape.

The last 20 years has seen an explosion in the number of websites. The world’s first website was launched in 1991. Less than 30 years later there was over 1.5 billion websites in the world. The rise of the mobile Application or App has been even more stratospheric with the App as we know it only really coming into existence about 11 years ago. Today there are over 2 million iOS Apps available in the App Store.

With the increase in the number of websites and Apps has come an increase in the amount of regulation around them. Some of this is the application of the general law to the online environment and some is website/App specific.

Our website audit looks at your website or App and gives you a pragmatic and common sense assessment of its compliance with the up to date law and regulations.

Why is it important?

It is important that your website or App complies with the latest laws and regulations for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Your website or App is important to your business. It may be a shop window on your business or it may be the business itself. Either way not getting it right on your website or in your App is likely to be an indicator that your business is not getting it right;
  • Potential customers or clients are likely to be put off of a business which has a website or App that clearly does not comply with the latest law and regulation;
  • A potential buyer or investor in your business (or worse their lawyers!) are likely to raise a red flag if your website does not comply in certain areas and will question how your business is run.

What areas does the audit cover?

It is important that our audit is relevant to your business and we work with you to get the scope right. Our audit will tend to look at compliance in the following areas:

  • Privacy – It would be unusual for your website or App not to be collecting personal data in some way and therefore we check to see whether you have a GDPR compliant privacy notice.
  • Cookie policy – Is your sites cookie policy fit for purpose? Does it comply with the latest guidance on consent?
  • Marketing consents – Where you are asking people to sign up or subscribe through your website or App are you collecting (and recording) the appropriate consents?
  • Business information – Does the website or App contain certain must-have information about your businesses identity?
  • E-commerce – Where you are providing goods and services through your website or App (particularly where those goods or services are being provided to consumers) there are a plethora of requirements that need to be complied with.
  • Services – Where your website or App is providing a service there are likely to be additional requirements on the business. For example the provision of information about your insurance and details of any regulatory regime that you are subject to.
  • Other concerns – Depending on the size of your business you may need a statement under the Modern Slavery legislation. The various rules and codes of practice on advertising are also likely to be relevant.
  • Terms of use – These will vary from a simple set of terms on how a visitor to your website may use it to a much fuller set of trading terms.
  • Acceptable use policy – This will be important where your website or App allows visitors to add their own content for example by leaving comments or participating in forums or chat rooms.
  • Disclaimers – These may be important in some cases – for example where your site links to or contains third party sources or where there is a concern about what visitors may do with the information on your site.

What about intellectual property?

Our audit also looks at the intellectual property in your website or App and we report to you on:

  • the use of copyright, patent, trade mark and design notices;
  • the correct use of your trade marks (both registered and unregistered);
  • the use (and acknowledgement) of third party rights.

What about the rest of my business?

We recognise that in many cases having a website that is lawful and compliant will only be part of a picture. For example, having a GDPR compliant privacy notice on your website or App is only a small part of being GDPR compliant. We do however tend to find that issues with your website or App will be mirrored in your business and that therefore this audit is a good starting point. It is also an excellent way for us to get to know you and your business and to start (or in many cases continue) our relationship with you.

How does it work?

We tailor our approach to suit you and your business. Typically however the process might look this like this:

  • Meeting or conversation to provide an overview of your business and any specific concerns that you have;
  • You provide guest logins and passwords as applicable so that we can have a good look at your site or App;
  • We review your site or App and provide you with a short report together with recommendations;
  • We meet to discuss those recommendations and agree next steps.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact Nick Phillips or any other member of the Intellectual Property team. 

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.

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