APRO’s Code of Ethics: Members Shall Respect the Privacy of Their Customers

APRO’s Code of Ethics was created when the association was formed in 1980 as part of an effort to organize the industry against legislative threats at the time. APRO’s first members wrote the code of ethics to establish a set of guidelines consistent with what they felt should be the industry’s values and ethical standards. These 14 Code of Ethics are still the defining guidance that APRO members agree upon to maintain a healthy business environment. In April, the APRO Board of Directors identified reconfirming these Code of Ethics as a priority during their Strategic Planning meeting, and as a result, APRO will feature a series of articles to familiarize and reconfirm each of these ethical standards with membership.

Members Shall Respect the Privacy of Their Customers.

There’s never been a time in which personal data can be more easily collected than in today’s era of the internet. Basic personal data is often voluntarily given by the customer and collected directly from the company website. More sophisticated data collection is often used without knowledge or consent, such customer’s page viewing and shopping tendencies. From business marketing perspective, this is an invaluable tool and widely used in many industries. And because this information can be used by businesses to customize their services or products according to the customer’s needs, many customers enjoy the more “personal” experience they receive because of these efforts.

APRO’s 4th article in its Code of Ethics calls for all members to respect the privacy of their customers, and this is where the line must be drawn between how far your data collection efforts go without violating your customer’s rights. The primary federal consumer protection law that has been used to apply to most privacy violations is the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. §§41-58) (FTC Act).

State laws governing privacy vary as well, and if there is ever a question about whether a policy you are implementing may be in violation of federal or state privacy laws, contact APRO immediately.