The Internet and the Law

We Cannot Throw Caution to the Wind

The Dangers of Internet Business for 2020 and Beyond

A huge reason for building this marketplace and the biggest reason behind the delays are… simply because we must ‘Protect the Merchants‘ that will operate shops in our marketplace, and we would rather not lose the millions we have invested in building this marketplace.

You see, the internet is dangerous, and we predict that 2021 will be a ‘Legal Nightmare’ for millions of small business owners. Most of them, like their lawyers, are completely unaware of the looming onslaught of lawsuits that drastically increased last year and are expected to triple over the next three (3) years.

AVATAR - Female look-a-like avatar for Marileen Rodgers, company directorWhile the pandemic is to blame for a lot of the world’s problems today, as is the US Election confusion.

The bigger concern for small businesses is that between 2018 and 2020, the legal landscape for doing business on the Internet radically changed, and not for the better for small business owners.

The Internet is no longer an undiscovered country, it is now a virtual country ‘Plagued with a Myriad of Laws‘ from every physical country and state around the world.

The list is long and the risk is high.

Owning a website is now literally 1,000X more dangerous than owning a local 7 Eleven.

Ten years ago, things were different, but as the Internet has grown from military use only, to colleges, to games, and now internationally rules over commerce. Today, we are a wired world, addicted to the Internet.

But a wired world works very differently, and we must adapt or be thrown under the bus due to ignorance and the many enormous consequences that lay in wait, against the limitless opportunities the Internet brings to us all.
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Learn more about the marketplace; click here

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Learn about how we plan to change the world; click here

 

Important News for Business

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…

The good news is that opportunity is around every corner. The bad news is, around many corners there are traps that will destroy your business in seconds.

Video Cover - News story about lawyers paying disabled $50 to file a lawsuitTwo of the biggest internet dangers for small businesses come without any statutory warning, no grace period, or grandfather protections, watch the video for more.

Add, that as you will see in this Video, ambulance-chasing lawyers are creating an entirely new problem, focused on extorting small business owners, using a disturbing legal strategy.

Of course, this video is for a drive-by attack, but the same is happening with websites. As I write this, shockingly more than 200 federal lawsuits for website compliance per month and growing.

The critical thing to understand, this threat does NOT come with a warning..!

There is currently no legal requirement that a business is given any warning, you will just get a summons. More important, these sleazy lawyers and their accomplice(s) have zero concern if they put you out of business or cause your employees to lose much-needed employment.

Any small business or website owner can be a lucky victim for the cost of filing fees, add about $50 for a willing Judas (apparently, it was slightly cheaper to double-cross Jesus).

The above was yesterday, now today’s news…

Fox Business News

ABC Action News

NBC News

National Association Of Realtors

The primary goal of these lawsuits is not helping the disabled, it is simply easy extortion. You see, in most cases, the victim will be instantly offered a quick settlement, say $15,000 to end a $250,000 lawsuit. Even without proof that anything on the website was fixed. These are just “pay-n-drop” cases or lawyer car payments.

Forget that new car for your wife, you have something new to think about.

Now problem number two, also no warning required…

A week later, you get another lawsuit from some guy in the EU for $10 million, and while you have never sold anything in the EU, that cool tracking software your website developer installed for you, broke the law.

Now, what’s worse, under the GDPR, they want your home, your car, and they will either ask for your firstborn in slavery, or your retirement savings may be enough. Somehow, they see a danger greater than the value of your business, your employees, or society at large. No joke, it’ is a tuff set of laws, the biggest fines in the industry, and hard to beat, or prevent, but that is another article.

Shame on you for trying to sell your homemade pillows online…

Sadly, the above is absolutely not some absurd joke.

When you do business on a street corner, you get a license from a state, city, or county, avoid discrimination, put in ramps and rails and wide doors, brail for the blind, and you’re probably good.

But unfortunately, I think this too has changed and will change hugely in the days and years to come. We will come back to this topic at the end of this page.

 

Disability Compliance

Cover image for Accessibility Overview Video

Depending on the country, between 10-20% of the population is disabled, and they want to use your website.

If they can’t, you will likely get a nice bill for the majority of your retirement savings.

The second qualifier is how you define disabled; The disabled label is being more broadly defined as the years go by, and today the range of mental issues that have been added to the disabled list is staggering.

Regardless, the disabled demand equal rights and equal access.

The result, ADA and WCAG in the USA, and similar legislation and organizations in many countries around the planet. All designed to improve access for the disabled. We should all want to see this happen.

But, there are problems;

First, serving the disabled always poses technical or practical issues to resolve. But, in the virtual world of the Internet, few things are better, many more are worse, next to impossible to comply with.

For example;

  1. How does a blind man interface with a website?
  2. How does someone order your homemade pillow if he has no hands?
  3. If the shopper is dyslexic, can they read and fully understand your sales copy?
  4. Those flashing lights and icons could set off an epileptic seizure.

If you fail to cover every possibility down this line of thinking, then you will be rewarded with a lawsuit that will likely cost between $150,000 and $1 million dollars depending on the number of violations they find, and if it looks like you might be successful, the price tag will be higher.

 

Food and Drug Administration | FDA Compliance

Video Cover - Explaince FDA Compliance with respect to labeling requirementsJust of few things that you must never do… Ask these questions;

  1. Did you make a health claim?
  2. Is your product safe to eat?
  3. Did you test it, are you required to test?
  4. How did you test, on animals, people, etc.?
  5. NOT safe to eat, is there a warning label?
  6. If it is unsafe to eat, do you have emergency instructions?
  7. Are you allowed to sell that drink mix without FDA approval?
  8. Is your product a medicine or a food supplement?
  9. Did I hear you right, if I take enough of your mix, my Cancer will disappear?
  10. Is your food facility regularly inspected by the health department?

Add a thousand more like this, and the spotlight is on 100% compliance, or hurtful fines and penalties will follow.

 

Federal Trade Commission | FTC Compliance

Video Cover - FTC Guidelines ExplainedBasically, if you are in business, you’re in ‘trade’ and the Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction in the USA. This means, that you cannot lie, or mislead, or make medical claims that are not proven (to the FDA).

  1. Are you selling an income opportunity?
  2. Can your product be used to make money?
  3. Did you claim to make money with it?
  4. Did you list the correct ingredients, in the correct order on your pie?
  5. Did you advertise a promise in exchange for a purchase?
  6. Did you claim your product will change the weather?

Pretty much anything you say about your product or service… if it in any way misleads the public, the FTC would like to chat with you about how things work.

 

Privacy for Adults and Children

Video Cover - Shows discussion about Facebook privacy violationsOne of the biggest changes on the Internet is the “Privacy” of Internet users.

We all understand when it comes to children. We must protect them from predators. But, for adults, the stakes can be higher and more diverse.

For example, many websites wire in tracking so that the website owner can get analytics about who and why people visit the website.

To do this, the software may record the user ID from the USER browser, that’s a big no-no in the EU and now with California, and other states and countries.

Likewise, the features of your website may require that elements of the website must be cached, etc. Or that setting must be saved for maybe a disabled person. In these cases, the data collected is also a serious privacy problem.

You need a good plan and a compliant privacy policy that you live and die by.

 

Sales Tax Collection, Reporting, and Remittance

Video Cover - Discussion about dealing with sales tax in ecommerceTry to open a business on the Internet in 2020, things are out of control.

First, you may not need a business license, but you will need 100+ sales tax permits for the USA, many more if you plan to sell internationally.

Why, because every state and government is now keenly aware that they have to aggressively get sales tax from out of state sellers.

In the USA the laws changed recently, and now every sales tax in the USA applies to every sale, except in states like Oregon where they have no sales tax.

Now you’re doing the taxman’s job for him.

 

Securities and Exchange Commission | SEC Compliance

Video Cover - Explains the Securities and Exchange CommissionIn short, if you want to raise money… Because you already spent tons of money like us.

You must not cross any lines, or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will expect you to buy them more than a nice lunch.

  1. Can I invest in your company?
  2. Do you advertise that you’re looking for investors?
  3. Have you shown your business plan to an investor?
  4. Are you selling stock, bonds, warrants, or other financial instruments?

If you broadcast anything like the above on the Internet, the penalties can be staggering, and may also include jail time in some cases.

 

Some Deeper Details if You’re a Merchant

ISSUE DETAILS VIDEO
ADA The biggest delay is the ADA, for a deeper legal review of this litigous problem for websites in 2020 and beyond; click here
AODA Canada and other countries have similar requirements. See more: click here
ATAG Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). For websites that let users add content, such as blogs, wikis, photo sharing sites, online forums, and social networking sites.
CVAA 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). Requires advanced communications services and products to be accessible by people with disabilities. Including VoIP, SMS, email, video, etc.
WCAG Statistically, 70% of all people are disabled in some form or another in their lifetime (temporarily or permanently). This video touches on WCAG requirements. See the law click here
PRIVACY Consumer Privacy is now a hot bed for legal actions with huge penalties
CALIFORNIA California’s 2018 CCPA, a landmark in US privacy laws.
CALIFORNIA Now for 2020 the all-new California CPRA, which strengthens California’s 2018, now said to be the toughest privacy legislation yet.
CHILDREN Children’s Privacy Policy COPPA, a broadly defined law. Unfortunately, we must prohibit children under 13 from using the website without adult supervision.
EUROPE Consumer Privacy in the EU is now a hotbed for legal actions with huge penalties, for example in 2018 the EU added the GDPR, with crazy fines designed to bankrupt any business in violation.
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Changes Coming to a Street Near You

As I mentioned at the start, things will change at the street business level too. Already, a tiny virus has changed the way we shop, eat, work, and recreate.

But this is not what I mean, I refer to the bigger changes. Just as the Internet was impacted by the real-world, sharing its legal nightmares. In the same way, expect the Internet will leak back into the real world.

For example, you can expect to see a lot of deeper accommodation issues with disabled persons, more requirements on signage, etc. Expect changes to packaging, changes to store shelving, etc.

Or perhaps worse, the end of the grocery shopping as we know it, instead all things must be delivered. Both an opportunity and a destroyer, as larger companies may have the resources to make the changes, many smaller companies will close the doors forever.

 

 

Summary

The dangers above amount to millions in potential liabilities and eventual costs to businesses and society at large. Remember, this applies to every website on the Internet in 2020 and beyond.

Because of this, we feel that many merchants will be weighing the cost of maintaining their own stores due to potential millions in real liabilities.

For these reasons, we are determined to go above and beyond and provide merchants with a safe place to do business, free from such legal threats.

Photo of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ambassador, Dustin Rodgers.

To do that, we are crossing very ’t’, dotting every ”i’, and checking everything twice, then twice more.

So, to be very clear, we wanted to be and could have been live weeks ago, but the lawyers keep us waiting till we do everything exactly right.

As a marketplace, we would be an instant target.

Thank you for understanding and know that we are looking forward to serving you soon.

P.S. Thank you for taking the time to read this page. and please do not overlook fixing your own websites to prepare for the worst the Internet has seen.

 

Sample Image of Disability Access Widget

 

 

 

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