Why You Need to Protect Attendee and Customer Data Privacy

March 6, 2023 Erica Maurer

Event managers are relationship builders. Trust is essential for developing your strategic relationships. Protecting customer and attendee data privacy is one part of building that trust.

Strong data privacy protects your clients and event attendees. It protects your business from expensive fines and penalties. It protects your reputation.

Learn more about maintaining customer data privacy. You'll see how information security benefits you and your clients.

Understanding Data Privacy Laws

The U.S. doesn't have comprehensive federal data privacy laws. Several states, including California and Virginia, have their own legislation. At least four other states are considering comprehensive legislation.

The New York SHIELD Act became law in 2019. It requires businesses to protect the private information of New York residents. It also widens the notification requirements for data breaches.

National privacy laws for specific sectors and means of communication do exist, though. These include regulations for:

  • Telecommunications
  • Health information
  • Credit information
  • Financial institutions
  • Student education records
  • Telemarketing and email marketing

Several of these privacy standards are likely to apply to event managers.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) came into effect in 2000. It sets limits on the data you can collect for consumers younger than 13 years old. For example, websites must get parental consent before collecting personal information.

COPPA includes restrictions on marketing that targets children younger than 13.


The CAN-SPAM Act was passed in 2003. It stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. The intent of the law is to protect consumers against unwanted email marketing.

The main requirements include:

  • Accurately identifying the person or business who sent the message
  • Using subject lines that reflect the content of the message
  • Identifying the message as an advertisement
  • Including your valid physical postal address (street address or P.O. box)
  • Telling recipients how they can opt out of receiving future emails
  • Honoring opt-out requests promptly

If you use a third-party company or system for email marketing, they must also follow the law.

Federal Trade Commission Act

The Federal Trade Commission Act is another important piece of legislation. It lets the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prevent unfair or deceptive business practices. This can relate to data privacy.

The FTC could impose penalties on organizations that put consumers' data at risk. This is a form of consumer protection. Violations could include:

  • Failing to implement reasonable standards for data security
  • Failing to follow industry privacy standards
  • Failing to follow the organization's own privacy policy
  • Making inaccurate statements to consumers about privacy and security practices
  • Collecting, processing, or sharing consumer data in a way that violates stated policies
  • Using misleading advertising relating to privacy

The FTC is considering new rules. The rules would tighten the standards for commercial surveillance and data security.

They would give the FTC more power to deter damaging behavior. They would create larger penalties for violations.

The Importance of Compliance with Data Privacy Laws

The penalties for non-compliance with data privacy laws can be significant. The FTC is the main enforcement agency for federal data privacy laws. Companies that violate the regulations could face civil penalties.

Fines can reach more than $46,500 per violation. These costs can multiply quickly. A mass email campaign could have hundreds of violations.

Damage to a company's reputation after poor data handling is another serious consequence. A survey found that 87% of consumers would stop doing business with a company that had a data breach.

Digital Security for Event Management

Following best practices can help you protect your clients' and attendees' data privacy. Security is important before, during, and after the event.

Registration Security

Registration security can help identify attempted hacking during the payment process. It can identify other potential problems too.

For example, it may flag someone buying an unusually large number of tickets. This can be a sign of people planning to disrupt an event due to a high-profile or controversial speaker.

Payment Security

The right precautions can make online payments more secure. Major card brands like VISA and Mastercard require compliance with PCI-DSS. PCI-DSS is a payment security standard.

The standard covers:

  • Network security
  • Network monitoring
  • Access to cardholder data
  • Information security

You can use a PCI-DSS-compliant payment gateway to meet these requirements.

SSL and TLS encryption protocols are very important for online payments. Encryption helps prevent bad actors from intercepting payment data.

Payment tokenization is another security technique. An algorithm converts sensitive data into a random series of characters. This makes the data much harder for cybercriminals to use.

Use a Trusted Hosting Platform

Hybrid events are becoming more common. If your event offers the option of virtual participation, you need a secure platform. A specialized event hosting platform can seamlessly integrate physical and digital attendees. Like payment processing, a hosting platform should have:

  • Multi-factor authentication to prove attendees' identity
  • Encryption

Other security measures include:

  • Secure distribution of URL and attendee codes
  • Malware scanning
  • Technology to prevent unauthorized recording or screen capturing

These protocols help to protect attendee data privacy from cybercriminals.

Implement Data Privacy Protections for Your Events

Protecting data privacy is critical for your business. Compliance with data privacy law protects customer and attendee data privacy. It protects your business from fines and penalties.

Robust data privacy practices help protect your reputation.

Data privacy security affects all aspects of your event. It contributes to making your event management as effective as possible.

Learn more about modern event management at the Event Planner Expo 2023. Get your tickets today and join us at the leading expo for events and hospitality.

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