Privacy Policy Definition

If you come up with a website, you may require users to sign up or provide personal data to access some services or products.

The personal information you can provide while signing up or buying merchandise includes names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. Sharing the information means the personal information is out there at the mercies of third parties.


Having a privacy policy outlines how the third parties will deal with your personal data. Can they sell it to other parties?

So, do you need a privacy policy for your website? And what should you have in a privacy policy?


What Does a Privacy Policy Refer to?


It is a legal statement on a site that outlines how the website owners will collect, store, and utilize the personal data that users provide.

The personal data includes names, physical address, email address, date of birth, telephone numbers, and financial information such as details of your debit and credit cards.

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The privacy policy outlines how the company will use the personal information and how it will meet its legal obligations. It also shows how you should seek recourse if the company doesn't meet its legal obligations.


Before you can sign up or give your personal information, the company will ask if you have read and understood its privacy policy. Ordinarily, several websites will have a button to click if you agree to their privacy policy.


It is also a legal requirement in most regions.

Any website that collects personal information and other data related to its users, even if it is just for tracking their location, should have a privacy policy. This includes eCommerce sites that use cookies to track the behaviour of their users.

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You also need a privacy policy if your company sends newsletters to its customers.


What Should You Include in Your Privacy Policy?


The contents of privacy policies can vary from one site to another. The difference in privacy policies can depend on the type of information that is collected and how it is used. It can also vary based on the kind of website that will knowingly collect personal information.

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However, there are essential elements that every privacy policy should have. These include:


  • The site intends to collect information from the users. The privacy policy should specify the type of information it intends to collect from the users


  • If cookies are used on the site, the privacy policy should include how a user can opt-out and the effects it will have on the user's experience


  • It should also outline how the information will be used and whether they will share it with any third-parties


  • The privacy policy also includes how the data users provide is protected depending on data protection laws from misuse and unauthorized access


  • It should also outline how to opt-out of data sharing and the possible consequences of doing so


  • Apart from the data collected, the privacy policy should also include how the data is collected and who collects it. For instance, is it collected by an advertising company


Other types of apps should also include additional information. For instance, if you are using Google AdSense, you should include information about links, cookies, and any third-party advertisers or sellers featured on the website.

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If yours is an eCommerce platform, your privacy policy should include accessing the payment information and how to process and store it. The complexity of payment information storage means that many platforms use third parties to store and manage the payment process. The privacy policy should outline who will be handling the information.


Many companies have existing data protection laws with common features like general data protection.

Websites are meant to be used by people on a global scale. As such, privacy policies need to meet particular compliance standards and terms, such as those in the United States or Europe.


Europe


Countries that consist of the European Economic Area (EEA) should meet the seven principles when preparing privacy policies.

They are required to collect data necessary for the purpose of the website, the accountability of the data collector, etc.

By May 2016, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) became government law in EEA, which standardized the requirements. The laws require any website in Europe, including those registered in ESA and Canada, to meet the GDPR.


United States 


In the USA, you get no data protection law. However, other laws cover various circumstances and demographics. For instance, you get the Children's Online Privacy Act (COPPA).


The online privacy act targets websites that relate to children under 13 years, whether they collect any information or not. The act also targets websites that collect data from people under the age of 13.

Another regulation that guides privacy policy creation in the USA is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

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Any website that operates within the United States must adhere to the privacy policy regulations. If a website has direct interaction with children or collects data from children, a parent or guardian should provide consent.


Third-party Advertising 


Several eCommerce websites, especially blogs, get income through advertising placed by third parties on their website. The most popular eCommerce platforms include Amazon affiliates and Google AdSense.

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Third-party advertising involves the sharing of data. Before they can participate in such programs, websites are required to have privacy policies.


Payment Processing 


If your website deals with payment processing, you are required to have a stringent privacy policy. The website collects crucial information, including names, email addresses, etc.

Additionally, websites that deal with payment processing also collect crucial financial information such as credit card, bank account, and bank account details.


Due to the complexity involved in handling financial data, most websites use third-party platforms.

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As such, the website should have a stringent privacy policy as a breach of the information can lead to serious financial consequences. The privacy policy should also outline the security measures that are used to protect the data.


How to Create Privacy Policies


As you create your website, it is essential that you develop a privacy policy.


Instead of going through the process of creating one, some companies can be tempted to copy a privacy policy from another website and paste it on theirs. While the copied privacy policy may seem suitable, it may not be right or appropriate for your business.

For instance, the two websites might differ on how to collect personal information from users. They may also differ on whether they should share the name, address, and other types of information with third parties.

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Every business, website, and service is unique, and the uniqueness should be reflected in the privacy policy. A privacy policy from another company may not cover everything that the website will be about. Also, it may not meet the applicable law of a privacy policy.

Privacy policy templates can also be too generic and they might not meet all the requirements. For that reason, you should avoid the templates while creating a privacy policy.


To be on the safe side, it will be best to use a privacy policy generator to create your privacy policy. Most privacy policy generators use qualified lawyers to draft your policy.

The lawyer will ask detailed questions related to your business or website. They will generate a customized privacy policy that you can download and add to your website.


There is no shortage of privacy policy generators in the market. Most of them are free and offer various features to help you collect contact information and other details. They also comply with privacy laws to ensure you won't have issues in the future.

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As you create your policy, ensure you use easy and straightforward language that people users can understand. Avoid using legal jargon as not all users are familiar with it.


How Do You Enforce a Privacy Policy?


As a requirement, websites must ensure that their users are aware of their privacy policy as they decide to register or make a purchase on their site.


Companies can make the users aware by providing a link with a checkbox that will confirm the user has read and understood the company's terms and conditions and accept them. Alternatively, the user may be required to scroll down to the bottom of the page before they can agree to the privacy policies.

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The website should ensure that its users have read and understood the privacy policy before accepting them. It is a commitment to meet the law requirements for creating a privacy policy.


Many people prefer the second option, also used by Google, as it makes it easy for the user to read the policy and either agree or disagree with them at the end. The method is better than having users make the effort of opening another page using a link.


Privacy Notice


Is there a difference between a privacy policy and a privacy notice?

A privacy policy focuses on the inside of the organization, telling employees what they can do with personal information.

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On the other hand, a privacy policy tells regulators, customers, and other stakeholders on the outside what they do with personal information.


Conclusion 

 There you have it. A clear definition of what a privacy policy is, who needs one and how you can create one.

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