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Does My Website Need a Privacy Policy?

When you first start out on your business journey, the process can be extremely overwhelming. There’s plenty going on, and it’s easy enough to forget or forego smaller details that may not seem immediately important. However, with the updates to data privacy regulations and lawsuits continuously occurring, forgetting about your website’s privacy policy can potentially land you in hot water.

Many people who own websites or blogs don’t realize that they’re legally required to have a privacy policy. While there aren’t comprehensive federal laws that govern data privacy, there are numerous smaller, specific laws and regulations that so address data privacy. In particular, The Federal Trade Commission Act prevents commercial entities from using deceptive trade practices. Non-disclosure of personal information use could be considered a violation of consumer rights.

Privacy laws in the United States and around the world state that if you intend to collect personal information from those visiting your website, you’re required to have a Privacy Policy. This policy must be posted on your site for visitors to view. When you visit a website, you may be familiar with pop-up notifications informing you of web pages using cookies. Here, the website is collecting small amounts of information from you when you visit, such as your IP address, name, and email. If you make a purchase on a website, even more personal information is collected.

When you set up your own website, you want to ensure that all visitors are aware that this information is being shared. It’s not only a legal requirement, it also builds trust with your consumers.

What is a Privacy Policy?

Essentially, a privacy policy is a legal agreement that informs website visitors about the personal information you are gathering from them. The primary intention is to ensure transparency between website users and website owners. Your privacy policy will also inform users on how their personal information is going to be used and who will be allowed access to it.

The Federal Trade Commission states that any website that uses cookies or records personal information must, by law, have a privacy policy available to anyone who wishes to view it. Additionally, there are numerous third-party services that require a privacy policy, such as analytical tools, plug-ins, or payment processing software.

Some examples of personal information gathered by a website include:

  • Name

  • Email address

  • Birth date

  • Physical addresses

  • Phone numbers

Knowing you’re required to have a privacy policy is just the beginning of the battle, you also need to understand what needs to be included in the policy. Typically speaking, a privacy policy will cover:

  • Use of cookies

  • Information about third parties

  • What types of information is being collected

  • The reason why this data is being collected

  • Data storage, security, and access.

Where to Get a Privacy Policy

There are numerous templates available online for privacy policies, however, it’s always advisable to have a policy that’s specifically tailored to your own business or company. Even attorney-approved, customizable templates might not successfully and clearly cover all legal requirements and recommendations.

If you need to implement a privacy policy on your website, Emerald Law can provide you with legal assistance to ensure your policy meets all legal requirements. We know starting a business can be overwhelming, and we have extensive knowledge helping businesses who are just starting out on their journey.

For more information on how we can help you with your policy, contact us today.


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