Protecting your Website from Unintended Liability

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Websites, among other reasons are created to inform new and existing clients about the products and services that a company offers as well as create an online presence for a company or organisation. Just like startups, websites are also subject to country-specific laws & regulations. Not adhering to these stipulations could result in legal battles and liabilities. 

Protecting a website from liability could happen pre-launch and post-launch of the website. On the pre-launch, it is imperative that you put certain measures in place such as confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements to protect any idea or business secrets that you may have. 

Typically, websites should have privacy policies detailing how users’ data is going to be collected and processed, as well as the security and/or data protection measures applied by the owner of the website. There should be a conspicuous and intelligible privacy notice on a website in compliance with the provisions of the data protection laws of a country (in Nigeria, it will be the NDPR). The privacy policy should be distinct from a cookies policy, non-contractual in nature, and easy to access and locate.

To protect your website from liability, there should be a disclaimer on the website; as where a person reasonably takes action(s) based on the information provided on a website, the website owner could be held liable. Disclaimers typically relates to refusal to accept responsibility and limit the legal liability of an individual, company or organisation. Disclaimers should be drafted properly to avoid an overkill that would end up destroying the legal liability they were designed to prevent.

The contents on a website are considered to be the intellectual property of the website owner. It is usual that a site owner would put up content on a website, and liability could arise where users of the site infringe on the rights of the owners by copying or distributing the copyrighted work. Users do not have the license to use copyrighted work for their own purposes unless they have the consent of the copyright owner or pay royalties. The owner of the site could also use a software that stops visitors to the page from copying and distributing copyrighted work. Where you purchase an already-established website, you should get an IP assignment agreement with the transfer of ownership of the website. In addition to having a privacy policy on your website, an intellectual property notice should suffice as well.

Another way to protect one’s website from liability is by having a terms of service. A terms of service should be an essential part of a website as it spells out what users must do and not do while using the website. After determining the scope of business for the site, a term of service serves as a form of contract between the owner of the site and the users of the site. Where users defy the terms for use of the website, there should be penalties/remedies reserved for such violations, including and leading to the loss of such user’s account. To have users accept these conditions, a clickwrap should be inserted into the design of the website. This allows the site owner to obtain undoubted acceptance from users when they actively click on something that signifies their acceptance.  

On the post-launch of the website, you should ensure that the privacy policies, cookies policy and terms of use are regularly updated in compliance with the data protection laws regulating the country that you offer your products and services.

Having a website is a great way to reach a large amount of users, and to avoid liability or legal battles, site owners should ensure that they take the aforementioned protections into consideration.

The Workchop Conversation with Sunday Fadipe

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

For this week, we have Sunday Fadipe, Lawyer, Writer & Public speaker share with us what his typical day is like as an in-house lawyer in a fintech company and his favorite hack for staying productive.

Okay, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a lawyer. I work in a financial technology company. Apart from lawyering, I write on diverse subjects and I like to read non-law books. (whispering) My pen is now dusty though. Surprisingly, I never thought I could work in-house. I thought I was too restless to do in-house and it would be boring.

Well, it is far from boring and financial technology has been a long term interest for me. And I don’t think I was born for that litigation stress. Have you ever had to file a process in Federal High Court in Lagos? Lool. I work with amazing people. That makes it really enjoyable. I also get involved in a lot of high-level transactions and conversations. That cannot be boring

What’s a typical day at work like for you?

On days that I am working remotely, wake up like 9am (please don’t tell my boss). I most times work really late into the night and I am generally not an early sleeper. I wake up to work most times as well. Wake up, say my prayers, take  a few steps to my workspace and fire down. I may not even eat until 1pm, 2pm or later. I have a bad eating habit. I take a few breaks in between, maybe some meetings in between as well and a lot of work calls.

For days that I have to work from the office, I wake up by 6am or 7am. and leave for work by 8am. Work resumes 9am. I work on transaction documents depending on my tasks sheet. Send several emails. Join or host meetings where necessary. Take break to have lunch, throw bants with some of my colleagues, and probably make calls too.

What is that one app that you think should be developed that will make your work easier but you’re surprised it isn’t in existence yet?

I think I have shared this with you before. I was thinking about an idea to make review of documents easier and voila! I found the feature on MS Word. But I’m still trying to refine the idea and maybe we’ll build it as an internal product in my company.

What apps, gadgets or tools can’t you do without?

Currently, my phone, WhatsApp, Cliq, Zoho, Twitter, Google Doc, Adobe Fill & Sign, and my dictionary app.

What is your favorite hack for staying productive?

Taking a lot of short breaks in between my work. 

What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?

I am currently reading ‘Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built’ by Duncan Clark and ‘How Successful People Lead’ by John Maxwell. I just finished ‘Stillness is the Key’ by Ryan Holiday. That’s one of my best reads so far. I am not currently listening to or watching anything long term.

Who would you like to answer these questions?

Enyioma Madubuike, my oga

The Workchop Conversation with Themba Mahleka, Co-head at HiiL Southern Africa

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

This week, we have Themba Mahleka, co-head at HiiL Innovation Hub Southern Africa. He is responsible for identifying and supporting legal start-ups whose innovative and/ or technological solutions help improve access to justice. Themba is an attorney by profession and simply passionate about legal tech and innovation. He does not believe that, as attorneys, “the robots are coming to take our jobs”. Instead, legal practice and the delivery of legal services are evolving and in doing so, becoming more accessible. He says that working with HiiL presents a unique opportunity to not only work in legal innovation but to do so for the benefit of those members of society who need access to justice the most.

What is that one idea that shaped how you perceived access to justice through tech?

There are many ideas that have informed my perception, one that stands out is the use of technology as a catalyst for existing solutions. An example of this is Online Dispute Resolution which takes the principles of mediation or arbitration and leverages technology to break down certain geographical or logistical barriers. It has been great to see this in action during the pandemic. 

How do you allocate time for work and other things? How do you deal with distractions?

The truth is I am still figuring this out! I have improved over the years though and being in the moment has helped. Setting goals and focusing on bite-size tasks one at a time, for me, has been more progressive than juggling multiple tasks and not having achieved much at the end of the day. Discipline is key here and that includes the discipline to unplug and recharge your mind and body.

How do you recharge or take a break?

Family. I find taking a walk with my wife and son, going to the dog park, and having dinner at the table (away from technology) as great ways to unwind at the end of the day. I took up boxing at the beginning of the year and this has quickly become one of my favorite things to do.

What is that one advantage of the Innovating Justice Challenge 2021 that you believe justice entrepreneurs must not miss?

HiiL has developed an amazing program with many benefits to offer. One such example is the community. We have found, particularly in Southern Africa, that many justice entrepreneurs feel that the space is so small that they are on the journey alone. Meeting other justice entrepreneurs and being able to tap into HiiL’s global network has resulted in some meaningful and lasting collaborations.

What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?

I am currently reading, “The Corruption Cure: How Citizens & Leaders Can Combat Graft” by Robert I. Rotberg, watching, “Last Chance U: Basketball” and listening to, “Bob Marley: Chant Down Babylon” 

Who would you like to answer these questions?

I’d be interested in hearing from Jackie Nagtegaal.

The Workchop Conversation with Keyukemi Ubi, Co-founder at DigiLaw

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

This week, we have Keyukemi Ubi, co-founder and head of operations at Digilaw. Keyukemi is a Law graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University. She is currently working as a paralegal freelancer. She loves listening to music, blogging, and engaging in intellectual conversations. Keyukemi aspires to have a long-term effect on the future of Technology law in Nigeria and the world.

How is a typical day like at DigiLaw?

Digilaw is a legal ed-tech startup, and our goal is to bridge the gap between law and technology. So we use channels like articles, research papers, videos, and podcasts to educate both legal and non-legal personnel on the nitty-gritty of legal technology. As head of operations, I keep the engine running. I manage communications with our writers and contributors. I also double as an editor, so I have to make sure that content is well primed for the audience. I have to do some editing and restructuring of articles, make sure they are Search Engine Optimized, create promotional pictures for social media while ensuring we are not violating any media laws or ethics. 

On some other days, I am hustling to make sure that we put out content for the Fit and Proper Podcast (a podcast to help Nigerian Law School Students). I function as the director/ host, so I have to communicate with co-hosts and make sure episodes are recorded, then my partner takes it from there. Some days are quite a roller coaster, and other days things are just slow, but we have to keep moving. 

What apps or gadgets have you been relying on to work, and how do you use them?

Hmm, for gadgets, I would say my phone and laptop. They are my best friends and work buddies. I use my phone for communications, i.e., calling, texting, and emailing stakeholders, depending on my deliverable. I also use calendly for scheduling and zoom for meetings. I probably shut down my laptop like once in two weeks because there is always something pending. 

What is your favorite hack on staying productive?

Daily to-do-list!

I easily get overwhelmed. I know people like to say, “I work well under pressure,” but I can’t say the same for myself. I can survive working under pressure, but I’m not too fond of it, and I would rather plan each step meticulously, so I don’t have to live using the fire brigade approach constantly. So, I have weekly plans and achievements, and then I break them down into small daily plans with designated hours to spend on them. I prioritize the most important and urgent ones and look for how to deal with others over time.  

I also have a daily routine that I try to follow to keep up with my personal development goals. 

How do you recharge or take a break? What do you spend time doing besides work?

I like to take breaks, especially because life is too short for you to work so hard and not enjoy yourself. I don’t go out much so I watch movies, chat with my friends or take long walks. Sometimes I do yoga, and other times I sleep because that’s all I need to recharge. 

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

I like sitcoms, so right now, I am watching The office; I just started season 8. I watch one or two episodes a day. an episode is like 20 mins. I have been alternating between books, so I read One or two chapters of a book and then go to where I stopped in another. So right now, I am concurrently reading: 

– Range: how generalist survive in a specialized world by David Epstein 

– The Singapore Stories, Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

– Venture Deals by Brad Feld

I don’t listen to podcasts as regularly as I used to, but I Like Business wars and I Said What I Said podcasts. 

Who would you like to answer these questions?

My partner, Akin Agunbiade. He is more interesting

THE CHALLENGES OF REMOTE WORKING IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

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In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organisations asked their employees to work from home. One writer described the COVID-19 Pandemic as a “time machine to the future”. Over the past year, the pandemic has accelerated a technology-enabled trend to wit: the move to virtual remote work environments which has the potential to remain strong and become the ‘new normal’ even after the pandemic situation abates. 

Remote working has accelerated the adoption of a variety of technology solutions, including collaboration and videoconferencing apps. It has eliminated the daily commutes of workers (resulting in saving on commute costs and other expenses), thereby allowing them to be more efficient and effective. It has enabled virtual collaboration with colleagues and promoted innovation, as well as increased workforce diversity of thought and talent. Flexibility and freedom are the most benefits of remote working. Remote working is incredible, but as with every other thing else, it’s not without its challenges and downsides. 

With employees working remotely due to the pandemic, the challenges of data security and privacy have become more pronounced. As organisations transition their workforce, cybersecurity challenges have been created. Inexperienced remote workers often lack security awareness; they are unfamiliar with the best/standard practices concerning the physical safety of their devices, cyber threat detection, password usage, and data protection. Against this uncertain backdrop, organisations become more susceptible to cyber threats. According to a Deloitte research, the need to accommodate remote workers has increased the likelihood of a large-scale cyber-attack owing to unmonitored networks. A study cites that the three biggest struggles of remote work are insufficient collaboration and communication, loneliness, and the inability to fully unplug after work. With remote working, there is a chance of a lack of mentorship, reduced interpersonal networking opportunities, and a lack of camaraderie with colleagues.

There could also be work-home interference and distractions while working remotely which causes a break in concentration. There’s been a debate surrounding the productivity of remote workers. It’s been suggested that remote workers are often more productive than those who work in an office. Some persons are a natural, while others struggle with and have a hard time eliminating distractions and focusing on their work.

For remote working to thrive, reliable power supply, internet connection and infrastructure are needed. However, it is possible that once in a while, remote workers will encounter connectivity challenges and power outage. Collaboration delays could occur due to differences in time zones. 

What are the solutions to these challenges?

Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs believes that as an employer, it’s critical to maintain a community for all workers despite their physical location, and require manager training specific to remote workers as well as provide the latest technological advancements in digital collaboration tools across the organisation. Communication among team members is key to success and productivity. There must be clear-thought out communication channels and protocols to facilitate a smooth course and exchange amongst team members when working remotely. Guidelines should also be made available to aid inexperienced remote workers navigate through these tools and communication protocols. 

As people turn to remote work, tools such as Pomodoro Technique and FocusMate to mention a few are being created that focuses on the remote specific productivity needs of remote workers. With these, remote workers are able to improve their productivity and track their work time. 

Physical office environments typically have a sort of security in place to prevent security risks and cyber-attacks/threats. To mitigate against cyber threats and security risks, necessary cybersecurity protocols and procedures, as well as trainings and guidelines on how to implement them should be provided for remote workers. 

To overcome connectivity challenges and power outage, organisations should invest in great and reliable service providers for remote team players. To bypass the obstacle of collaboration delays due to time zone differences, a kind of balance and an overlap between team members will have to be created if productivity is to be attained. Tools like Slack will help to achieve this. A culture of communication among team players will help to manage the situation effectively. Creating a calendar (using Google calendar, for instance) and ensuring that it stays up to update will ensure that targets are hit and deadlines met. 

Conclusively, remote work is the future of work. With effective communication channels, security protocols, reliable internet service, project management and coordination platforms, organisations will get the best out of remote working.