Privacy Please: The Website Privacy Policy and You

Privacy Please: The Website Privacy Policy and You

More and more countries, localities and states are enacting privacy laws which impact website owners. If your website asks for something as simple as an email address to subscribe to a newsletter, your website is probably subject to one or more of these laws. You need a website privacy policy.

Websites that collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) are required to have a privacy policy that covers various aspects of what the website collects, how it is used and the rights individuals have to control this. Requirements are different by country and locality so a website privacy policy must be broad enough to cover all of them. The definition of Personally Identifiable Information includes names, addresses (physical or e-mail), IP addresses, telephone numbers, date of birth, and financial information, such as debit or credit card details.

In a previous post, we discussed Cookie Compliance. Declaring cookies that may be stored on a website visitor’s computer is one aspect of privacy. Your privacy policy must cover cookies and more.

Penalties can be severe. Some states have bills in process which would allow an individual to sue a company for not having a privacy policy if that site asks for an email address or any other personal information. These laws are being put in place to protect the citizens of a state or country…it matters not where the business is located.

It is important to not only have policies in place on your website, but also to update those policies as needed when laws change or new laws are enacted.

While we at B. McGuire Designs are not attorneys or privacy experts, we do make our clients aware of the need for a privacy policy and we partner with Termageddon to help provide our clients with privacy and other website policies that automatically update as laws change.  A client can also have their own attorney draft appropriate policies for us to implement on a client’s website. Either way, it is important to understand if your website needs a privacy policy (it does if you’re collecting any personal information like an email address) and to work with your web developer to make sure you have privacy and another policies such as terms of use and disclaimers in place.

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