In this new article, let’s discover together 5 legal obligations for websites in 2018…

1 – Mandatory information

These mentions, specified by the Law for confidence in the digital economy (LCEN) of 2004, must appear on any website. Legal notices protect Internet users and provide a means of contacting the editors of the site. Here are the mandatory information:

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  • Identity of a representative Legal / entrepreneur
    • Home Address ;
    • Last name and first name ;
    • Mail address ;
    • Telephone number;
  • The society if the site is commercial
    • Social reason ;
    • Legal form ;
    • Mail address ;
    • Telephone number;
    • Registered Address ;
    • Amount of share capital;
    • Registration number in the Trade and Companies Register (SIRET, RCS) for a commercial activity;
    • VAT number for a commercial activity;
    • Registration number in the trades directory (RM).
  • References to professional rules for regulated professions
    • Name of the authority;
    • Address of the authority.
  • Name of publication director and Accommodation (Name, Denomination, Address, Telephone number)
  • For the merchant sites, these details must appear on the product sheets:
    • General Conditions of Sale for e-commerce sites (CGV);
    • Price (in euros including tax);
    • Fees and delivery date;
    • Payment terms ;
    • After sales services ;
    • Right to retract ;
    • Duration of the offer;
    • Cost of remote communication (telephone charges).
  • CNIL Declaration Number (National Data Protection Commission) if not exempt
  • Applicable law in case of litigation
  • A disclaimer

Note that since 2006, it is no longer necessary to declare a website to the CNIL, but the file containing the personal data of users. In addition to the declaration, the storage means and security measures taken to back up this file must be specified. The personal websites, blogs and associative sites are exempt from CNIL declaration. Here is the link to make your CNIL declaration.

Failure to comply with these obligations is heavily punished by law. This provides for a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a € 75,000 fine for natural persons and € 370,000 for legal persons.

Thus, the legal notices must appear for 3 reasons:

  1. It’s the law ;
  2. The appearance of these mentions inspires confidence;
  3. Legal notices protect the site thanks to intellectual property.

You can find all this information on the public services website.

2 – Prevention of cookies

European regulations stipulate that Internet users must be warned and give their consent before using cookies and tracers (Telecom Package). This consent is valid for a maximum of 13 months.

The obligations regarding the consent of Cookies and Tracers apply for all types of cookies:

  • Session cookies, avoid filling in the same information more than once, such as connection identifiers;
  • Audience measurement cookies, are more like tracers and make it possible to know where users are going on web pages, which they have done to offer targeted advertising such as Adwords or Retargeting.

The main problem is that even the cookie notification plugins allowing to display the prevention banner on web pages do not exactly respect the rules set by the CNIL:

  • Cookies are nevertheless transmitted before the visitor’s consent;
  • It is impossible to withdraw your agreement once given;
  • It is impossible to select which cookies to accept and which to refuse.

The best solution is to specify, on one of the pages of the website, the precise use of cookies, a description of what a cookie is and the steps to follow to deactivate them on different media (mobile, desktop and different browsers ). You can take inspiration from the following text:

Finally, here are the conditions of the CNIL to measure the frequentation of a site without obtaining the consent of the upstream users:

  • The site editor must deliver clear and complete information;
  • An opposition mechanism must be easily accessible and must be able to be used on all browsers, and all types of terminals (including smartphones and tablets);
  • The data collected must not be cross-checked with other processing (customer files or statistics on visits to other sites for example);
  • The cookie placed must only be used for the production of anonymous statistics;
  • The cookie must not make it possible to follow the navigation of the Internet user on other sites;
  • The IP address used to geolocate the Internet user should not be more precise than the city scale. Concretely, the last two bytes of the IP address must be deleted;
  • Cookies allowing the traceability of Internet users and IP addresses must not be kept beyond 13 months from the first visit.

3 – Regulations on customer reviews

Since January 1, 2018, a new decree obliges sites publishing consumer notices to inform Internet users about their origin and moderation methods used. This decree appears in the Consumer Code L111-7-2. The decree requires the owners of these websites to provide users with legal, clear and transparent information on the methods of publication and processing of notices posted online.

The purpose of this decree is to limit the publication of false reviews, especially on review platforms such as TripAdvisor or Yelp.

The information provided to Internet users must describe how the opinions were collected, what were the moderation methods or must inform the remuneration of the authors of these opinions.

In addition, the date of publication of the notice must appear as well as the dates of modification. The user must be able to sort all the reviews chronologically.

Finally, at the time of writing the notice, the receiving entity must announce to the author the maximum time for keeping the notice as well as the reason for rejection of the notice if this is the case. This measure also allows companies with comments to cast doubt on the veracity of an opinion and to request its withdrawal if it is fraudulent.

4 – E-commerce mediation

Since January 1, 2016, e-commerce site owners must offer a mediation service which can be entered by users. The site must inform visitors that such a service is available. All information concerning mediation must appear in the General Conditions of Sale (CGV) and / or in the General Conditions of Use (CGU).

Mediation is an alternative way to resolve conflicts between multiple parties. These conflicts are confidential and therefore preserve the reputation of the parties involved. Indeed, the appeal to a third entity called the mediator avoids legal proceedings.

The ordinance n ° 2015-1033 of August 20, 2015 indicates the applications of mediation:

  • Concerns a national or cross-border dispute between a consumer and a professional;
  • All consumers have the right to have free recourse to a consumer mediator for the amicable resolution of the dispute between them and a professional;
  • It is up to the professional to guarantee the consumer the effective use of a consumer mediation system;
  • The professional can set up his own mediation system or offer the consumer the use of any other consumer mediator;
  • The contact details of the mediation service must be indicated on the e-merchant’s website and be easily accessible to the consumer;
  • When there is a consumer mediator whose competence extends to all businesses in an area of ​​economic activity to which he belongs, the professional always allows the consumer to use it;
  • The consumer ombudsman can only examine the dispute when the consumer has attempted to resolve it beforehand with the professional, by written complaint in accordance with the terms provided for this purpose in the contract.

The sanctions provided for by law in the event of failure to comply with these obligations are € 3,000 maximum for natural persons and € 15,000 maximum for legal persons.

5 – Respect the law

A final point also provided for in the law more generally is to apply the law on any website.

Thus, it is prohibited to:

  • Sell ​​counterfeit or illicit substances;
  • Provoke minors;
  • Initiate provocation to commit dangerous crimes or acts;
  • Discriminate;
  • Insult;
  • Fail to respect image rights, regardless of the type of content;
  • Respect the right to image;
  • Respect copyright and intellectual property.

The list of these legal obligations is not exhaustive. In addition, a watch on the new legal obligations is necessary in order to respect all the rules implemented by our institutions.