They can be found on more and more e-commerce websites and in online shops: Chatbots. They answer questions about products or put you in touch with a personal advisor. Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, they can do even more and try to understand and answer even more complex enquiries – even going as far as concluding a contract. But how legally compliant is this use? What needs to be considered?
Dr Martin Schirmbacher, specialist lawyer for IT at HÄRTING Rechtsanwälte in Germany, has taken a closer look at these issues. When dealing with such chatbots from a legal perspective, keywords such as consumer law, cancellation rights, consent requirements, information obligations and data protection and processing must be urgently observed.
Before using chatbots, every company should carefully examine the purposes they are intended to fulfil and how the documentation of chatbot communication with customers is ensured. There must also be justification under data protection law.
The following checklist makes it easier to observe the essential steps when using chatbots:
1. decide whether contracts can be concluded in the chat
2. document any contracts concluded by default
3. connect the chatbot to the online shop (right of cancellation and information obligations)
4. check on which legal basis the collection of personal data in the bot can be based
5. document the result of the balancing of interests or the submission of a declaration of consent
6. add information about the chatbot to the data protection information
7. link the data protection information
8. check whether additional cookie consent is required
9. carry out a data protection impact assessment for AI-supported chatbots
10. conclude clear data protection agreements with the chat tool provider
11. additionally check if the provider is a U.S. company
The full article by Dr Martin Schirmbacher can be read here (German only):