Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released revised e-commerce recommendations designed to protect customers in the electronic marketplace. The new guidelines modernize a similar set of recommendations originally published in 1999. In the guidelines, the OECD recommends that its member countries update and modernize their consumer protection laws to adapt to the changing e-commerce landscape. For instance, the new guidelines focus on recent developments in e-commerce such as mobile payments, the questionable reliability of online reviews, and the expanding use of apps. Additionally, the guidelines continue to place an emphasis on protecting consumer data and ensuring ethical advertising practices. In particular, the guidelines recommend that OECD members expand their consumer protection laws to cover mobile applications that offer free services in exchange for access to consumer data. While the guidelines are not binding on member countries, the FTC – the primary agency responsible for e-commerce consumer protection in the United States – released a statement welcoming the revised guidelines.

Tip: These guidelines provide a framework and foreshadowing for companies to understand what types of expectations privacy laws may place on them.