Privacy policies are also required by law under data privacy laws such as:
- California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
- Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA)
- Amended California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
You might not need one if you do not store any data and do not sell anything. However, all website owners should consider drafting one for the following reasons:
- You’ll need it for third-party apps
- It shows your commitment to security
- It’ll help you avoid legal action
It is best for privacy policies to be concise, clear, and complete. That being said, not many policies actually meet that standard.
As of 2021, 97% of privacy policies violate GDPR principles.
But if your policy is easy for users to understand, you will have fewer problems with people misinterpreting it.
- An outline and list of the data gathered
- Where that information can be found
- Why you need it
- How to gather it
- Who else has access to their data
- People's rights over their data
- How people can use those rights
- Your contact details
Besides these, you might want to add:
- How you keep the information, including secure storage and cloud analytics.
- When and how to delete personal information
You will have to keep an eye on your policy all the time to make sure it fits with any new or changed laws.
Depending on your industry, you may need to change the privacy terms you use when you make your policy.
But generally, you must first you must decide the following:
- What data needs to be gathered, and how can users be informed?
- Why is it important to get personal information? Is it required by law to give this kind of information? Do you need the data to keep your website running smoothly, or do you need it to improve the customer experience?
- How do you gather data? Will you mostly be asking users to fill out online surveys? Or does the data collection happen through cookies on the site?
It's also important to factor cybersecurity measures into your policy. You should outline your cyber incident response plan, explaining how you will respond in the event of a data breach or cybersecurity incident. This ensures that your users know you're prepared to safeguard their data even in challenging situations.
- Make a list of the data your website collects
Keeping a list of the data your website gathers is a good idea. Customers will be able to see what kind of information you will have, which will help them decide if they want to stay on your site.
Examples could include:
- Login Credentials
- Dates of birth
- Cookies and Browsing Data
- Email addresses
- Payment Information
- Postal addresses
- Explain why you are gathering this information
Does the site need to collect information to follow the law? If that is the case, you need a formal notice explaining how and why the personal information is being collected.
Are you collecting data for marketing purposes or to improve the quality of data for things like research? Do you think it helps you process certain information about your users so that you can offer some kind of service?
Let them know the answers to these questions.
For example, you could use the data to make sure their order arrives on time, to make their shopping experience more enjoyable, or to show them related products that might interest them.
- Describe the ways your website gathers this data
This is very important information to share because websites can collect personal information in many ways. Will you use browser fingerprinting, pixel tags, cookies, or other technologies that could make previous financial transactions on a user's computer public? Your users deserve to know.
- Show how you keep personal information safe
Your customers need to know that you will keep their personal information safe. It should be clear that you have strict rules about keeping their data safe. Using Secure Socket Layers (SSL), encrypt their information and make sure that only authorized individuals can access it in line with your website's strict security rules.
- Allow users to contact you about privacy
Providing contact information allows businesses to respond to customer concerns and questions, which is a requirement of some laws.
Even though it is not necessary by law, a contact email is still the best way to get in touch. You should include both a mailing address and a phone number. Keeping in touch with customers is another way for businesses to stay out of trouble with the law.
Because the website will need to keep all of its privacy policies consistent and up-to-date, you will need to keep users informed on a regular basis. Notifying customers through pop-ups, mail, blogs, email, or adding it to your website design (i.e., banners) are some ways to do this. Always explain why those rules are changing.
- Disclose third-party data sharing
The main thing that most of your customers will worry about is that their private data will be given to third parties. Nobody likes getting spam that they did not sign up for. You should be very clear about how and when you share customer information with third parties, if you happen to do so.
- Specify collection and use of data for underage users