While many countries are starting to consider privacy a fundamental human right, many businesses are not. Data privacy laws require anyone that is collecting personal information to disclose who it is being used and how it is being kept safe.
The content of said policy will depend upon the applicable laws or policies, and what you are keeping. For a normal website, this is likely just browser cookies and sometimes IP addresses. If you ask for users to submit their email address, this is personal information. If you have a larger form where people purchase insurance policies or enter their address, this is more personal information
Being transparent and sharing honest information with how you collect data also goes a long way with establishing trust. Obtaining and then using a user’s data in secret, especially to market or sell to them, is deceitful and devious. This is why it’s illegal in many countries.
What Should Be Included?
When creating this policy, the exact information required will depend on the applicable laws, policies, or agreements.
Most policies inform of:
- Your website’s legal business name, location, and contact information.
- What information is collected, and how you’re collecting it
- How you’re keeping it safe (for example, on our clients that use Windows Azure for website hosting, we make sure to notate how secure their facilities are)
- If they can opt out, and how they can opt out. If they can’t opt out, this needs to be clear
- Note any third-party services you’re using to collect, process, or store that information (like Google Analytics, your MailChip newsletter, and so on)
Don’t use complex legal jargon or terms that you don’t understand. While you view this as a way of protecting yourself, the point of this policy is to explain to users what they are opting into. Make it short, concise and easy to understand.
Online Resources for Creating Privacy Policies
Don’t Have One? Create it Today.
While it may seem like an unnecessary hassle, putting it off is the same as putting off having insurance for yourself. You really want to make sure it’s in place before you need it, when it’s too late.