Publishing Information on the Web

The December 20th, 1995 Edition of Computing Canada has an important column: Perspective by Jim Carrol called "Lawsuit sends a wake up call to senior management". In the article, Jim points out a very important point often overlooked in the zeal to create a website:

to avoid a host of potential legal and public relations problems. All organizations involved with the Internet should recognize that publishing information on the Web is essentially the same as publishing brochures, advertisements, and other paper reports - - except information on the Web has a much wider distribution

The article raises many questions such as "Who should be allowed to publish information that represents the company?" and "Should they be allowed to do so?". Another fine point that this article states is

any information published on-line be done in a way that meets the current publishing standards of the organization, and that the information on-line be continuously reviewed to ensure that it is up to date, is not in error or could be considered "misleading".

Which brings us to the nature of Jim's article and the title "Lawsuit sends a wake up call to senior management". A company listed airline fares from London to New York and did not update the information. It was fined $14,000 by the U.S. Department of Transportation for placing "misleading" fare advertisements on the Internet.

This article is a must read for those of you considering setting up an Internet presence. By raising these important questions, the article prods you to make decisions on setting rules and guidelines, and on how you want to create and manage your Internet presence.

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