Does Your Website Need A Privacy Policy?

When you visit any kind of websites these days, you probably notice an interstitial or significant bit on the footer asking you to accept the site’s privacy policy. Looking back a decade ago, not many websites are so upfront asking for your consent to accept tracking cookies. Why the sudden change?

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Why Do Websites Need a Privacy Policy?

To thrive, businesses need customers’ trust and confidence. That much has been true even before the internet took over the business of things. No, when your website is a business front, a clear privacy policy can boost customers’ trust as they see you as an honest and transparent business entity.

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Another reason why you need a privacy policy is the law. Governments all around the globe wanted to protect the privacy of internet surfers. Since almost all websites gather visitor’s data to some extent, not having a privacy policy can get you in trouble. Here are some examples of such laws:

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– Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (USA)

– California  Online Privacy Protection Act (USA)

– General Data Protection Regulation (EU)

– Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada)

– Data Protection Act (UK)

– Privacy Act (Australia)

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Although some of those laws have been around for decades, people have only realized the importance of protecting their data in recent years. The Cambridge Analytica data harvest scandal has opened the eyes of millions on just how valuable their data is. You can be sure governments will be enforcing these laws even more, either by their own volition or pressure from the public.

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 “OK, color me convinced. So, what do I need to include in the privacy policy?”

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The complexity of your privacy policy depends on how much data you gather. In short, your privacy policy should include the followings:

– What information you collect

– What information you do NOT collect

– How you use the information.

– Do you share the information? If so, how?

– Your use of cookies and tracking

– How you secure the information

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Need ideas? Check out the privacy policies from Google, New York Times, and Ziff Davis. If you a small business site, you will not need such a long privacy policy. However, they do make great examples of what to include in yours.

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By the way, make sure your new privacy uses an easy-to-understand language. If you have the capital to hire a lawyer to write the policy for you, ask him to dumb it down so people can understand it easily.

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In addition, make sure the policy isn’t riddled with misspellings and bad grammar. Your online credibility can take quite a hit when customers notice just how sloppy your privacy policy is. Since it can be hard to catch your own mistakes, don’t be shy to use a spelling and grammar tool to help you out. It can save you an awful lot of time.

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