• August 2019
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Privacy Policy Best Practices

man typing up privacy policy on macbook

Whether you own a business, run a nonprofit organization or simply want to share your talents and passions with the public, chances are that you use a website to communicate with people potentially interested in your operations. Gone are the days when people turned to the local phone book to give them information about local and nationwide businesses that might best suit their needs. Instead, both companies and individuals alike generally go online when they need access to information about goods, services and influencers relevant to their interests. As a result, having a solid website is not really optional for companies and organizations, even small, local, niche enterprises. However, some businesses and individual innovators are understandably hesitant to do “too much” with their web presence because they are unsure of what kind of liabilities this reality exposes them to. One of the best ways that parties interested in maintaining websites, email lists, mobile apps and other forms of online communication with customers, supporters and the general public can protect themselves involves the use of privacy policies.

Privacy Policies – An Introduction

A privacy policy allows users to understand the kinds of personal information your website, app or other online communication tool gathers from users. It also explains both how your operation uses, stores and/or transfers this information and what you are doing to keep that personal information protected from compromise. This kind of legal agreement is important if you access any personal data from your users. Personal data includes the names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, payment information and other identifying details of your users. If your website, app or other platform shares information with affiliated businesses, websites, organizations or third parties, you should also disclose that information in your privacy policy. Similarly, if your site or app uses cookies, it is important to educate users about that practice as well.

It is important to note that there are times when using a privacy policy is legally required. For example, if your website processes payment information from third-party users, you need to have a privacy policy in place as a matter of law. Similarly, if you use advertising plug-ins and/or certain forms of data gathering and analysis for the purposes of profit, you must have a privacy policy in place. If you have questions about whether the activity and features of your site necessitate the use of a privacy policy, please do not hesitate to connect with an experienced attorney for guidance.

Creating a Privacy Policy

It is possible to write a privacy policy yourself with the assistance of online resources. However, if you want to make sure that your privacy policy “covers all your bases,” you can certainly have an attorney look over the privacy policy you have constructed. A number of online generators have been designed to help businesses and individuals create generic privacy policies with relative ease. If your online operation is more specialized and may need some unique privacy policy terms included in your agreement, you will want to consult an attorney for assistance with that aspect of the privacy policy creation process. Please note that if your operation accesses the personal data of residents of the European Union, you will benefit from speaking with an attorney about complying with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, as noncompliance could result in significant fines and penalties.

Privacy Policy Best Practices

When writing your agreement, it is important to keep some privacy policy best practices in mind. It is important to be clear and specific when describing the kinds of information you collect, how you use it, how it is stored and who else has access to it. This is not the time for jargon or vague legalese. Your users will feel more confident in agreeing to your privacy policy if they can understand its purpose, its terms and its benefits for both your company and for themselves. Also, it is important to make sure that if you use an online generator, you go “back in” to the language to make it specific to your operations. If your policy doesn’t accurately reflect your approach, this could land you in legal hot water. Finally, make your policy easily visible, feature a place for users to explicitly accept your terms and offer an opt-out option.

Legal Guidance Is Available

If you are interested in creating a privacy policy or you want to ensure that your existing privacy policy meets best practices, please consider scheduling a consultation with LawTrades today. Our experienced attorneys would be happy to answer your questions and to provide personalized guidance according to your needs. The thorough yet efficient and cost-effective approach that the team at LawTrades employs is sure to benefit your operation, whatever that operation may be. We look forward to speaking with you.