Does My Website Need A Privacy Policy

If you are weighing whether you need a privacy policy for your website. We’ll shortly answer your question.

 

If you are hoping to create a website irrespective of your region, the answer is yes. And why do you need a privacy policy? Well, having a policy is part of good business practice. You want to assure your website’s visitors' personal data is safe with you.


Additionally, the privacy policy requirements to a website are legally required in many regions according to law.


Starting a new company can be overwhelming as there is a lot of paperwork to handle. As such, it's possible to overlook some details, such as the privacy policy. However, with so many privacy laws available, not having to post a privacy policy may result in compliance issues in the future.

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Do I Need a Privacy Policy For My Website?


Yes, you need to have a privacy policy.


Not only do you need to have privacy and policy, but it should also be well created. It should suit all your website’s needs and meet all the legal requirements in your country.


When creating a website, people concentrate on other areas such as describing their products, making the website intuitive and appealing, etc. The website creators can overlook the privacy policy part.


Other website creators will just copy and paste the privacy policy and terms of service from other websites. While copying and pasting may simplify the work, it is risky as it may not meet all your business's legal requirements and uniqueness.

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A privacy policy will let your website’s or mobile app’s users know the type of data you wish to collect and what you intend to do with the data. It also outlines how you are planning to collect the data, whether it is using a form of cookies.


The policy will also outline how you intend to store and secure your customer's personal information to ensure it doesn't fall into the hands of malicious third-parties.

The duration you intend to store the data also matters. Will you delete the user data after 90 days, or how long do you intend to store the data?


Privacy policies also elaborate on who has access to your data. It means your website should provide contact details for customers to request data if they want to and a process for requesting. The website users should be able to contact you if they have a question regarding your privacy policy. You should also provide an opt-out notice for customers who don't agree with your privacy policy.


Additionally, your privacy policy should include the security policy you use to collect user data from users. The policy must outline the security measures you take to make sure you safeguard the customer information.

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Personal Information 


If you wish to collect personal information from your website visitors, you need a privacy policy to assure users that the data you collect is safe. It should also show how you intend to use the user’s data.

The terms of use in your privacy policy can vary from other websites collecting data and personal information. The variance can be due to the type of user data you collect.

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Some of the user data you can collect includes:


  • Names


  • Dates of birth


  • Email addresses


  • Phone number


  • Social security numbers


  • Bank details


  • Billing and shipping addresses
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What Do Privacy Policies Cover?


Privacy policies cover various aspects, including:


  • Use of cookies


  • Details of data transfers


  • The purpose of collecting the user data


  • The type of information collected by the website or mobile app


  • Data storage, security, and access


  • Affiliated organizations or websites, including third-parties


The bottom line is that a privacy policy is both good business practice and a requirement by law.

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What are some of the privacy laws in various countries that require you to have a privacy policy for your company?


Privacy Laws in the United States


Various laws in the United States require your website to have a privacy policy.


Some of these laws include the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, California Consumer Privacy Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, among others.

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One of the strictest laws in the US is CaIOPPA. The law goes beyond the US borders as it applies to any website that collects personal information from California residents.


CaIOPPA is a state law and not federal law. However, it affects your website irrespective of where you operate from, provided you collect data from California residents.


According to CaIOPPA, personally identifiable data can be categorized into:


  • Your first and last names


  • Physical addresses


  • email addresses


  • Social security numbers


  • Phone numbers


  • Any other contact information you share with a website, either online or physically


  • Birthdates


  • Details of your physical appearance, including your hair colour, weight, and height


  • Any other detail stored online that can identify an individual
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How Does a Privacy Policy Comply With CaIOPPA?


According to CaIOPPA, a compliant privacy policy should contain the following information:


  • The type of user data that are collected through your website or mobile app


  • Any affiliated website or organization that you wish to share the information with


  • A clear explanation of how a user can request amendments to data collected


  • A process of informing the website users if there are any privacy policy changes


  • What should happen if a user makes a "Do Not Track" request


  • Details of any third-party that will collect the user data using the website or app
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A CaIOPPA compliant privacy policy must contain the word "privacy," It should be clearly visible and easily accessible by users.


Privacy Laws in the EU


The EU Data Protection Directive was in operation since 1995. It has regulated how user data in the EU is gathered and handled, and it has also helped prevent misuse.


The directive required all the companies operating in the EU to have a privacy policy.

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The Data Protection Directive was replaced on May 25, 2018, by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


GDPR requires all websites operating in the EU and foreign companies that collect user data from people in the EU to have a privacy policy. The aim of the regulation is to ensure that data is obtained and processed fairly.


Under this law, a GDPR compliant privacy policy must contain various aspects, including the data controller's name, the purpose of collecting the personal data, the right to rectify data, etc.


The General Data Protection Regulation requires that:


  • All personal data should be processed in an ethical manner


  • Personal data should only be collected for predetermined reasons, and the information you collect can only be used for such reasons


  • The data collected should be accurate and updated when requested


  • Except for certain special circumstances, e.g., scientific data research, the users should only be identified for as long as it is needed


  • The website collecting the data is responsible for ensuring adherence to GDPR through appointing a Data Protection Officer


  • The user should be able to contact the website collecting the personal data and its Data Protection Officer, where there is one


  • The website should make its users aware of the reasons they are collecting the data and the period the data will be stored


  • The website should also advise its users of their 8 rights under the GDPR. This includes the right to access, update and request removal of personal data


  • There should be a supervisory body to deal with complaints from users. The privacy policy should provide the contact information of the supervisory body


  • The user should be informed if the business is to share their personal data with any third party or affiliated organization or if the personal data is to be transferred outside the EU


  • The website should also provide any other information to ensure fair processing of personal data
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If you are starting your business in the EU, one of the factors you should consider is a GDPR compliant privacy policy. The policy should be easily accessible, and you should obtain active consent from users before you can collect any of their personal data.

The enforcement of the GDPR is stricter, and it attracts greater penalties for non-compliance.


How Do You Get a Privacy Policy?


There is no doubt that your website requires a privacy policy as part of good business practice and also as a legal requirement.

You should determine the type of privacy and policy your website requires. It will help a lot if you can consult a legal professional for legal advice.

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Can you come up with a privacy policy for free?


Yes, you can. There are tons of privacy policy generators in the market, some privacy policy generator is for free, and some privacy policy generator will cost you a small fee. You should check out the different privacy policy generators and their reviews online to decide if they are the best for your website needs.


Conclusion


Does your website require a privacy policy? Yes, it does. Many countries, including the US, the European Union, Canada, etc., require companies collecting personal information from their citizens to have privacy and policy. The policy should guide how the company collects, stores, and uses the personal information they collect.

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