Privacy Policy

Website or application privacy policy is used by online businesses in connection with the collection, storage, use, and disclosure of personal information, including for the purpose of selling goods or services to users of the site, or for contacting users with direct marketing campaigns.

 

There are a number of laws in the United States, which deal with protection of privacy and data security. Every business that has online presence must know the applicable legal principles and ensure ongoing compliance. A well drafted and posted on website privacy policy can protect the site owners from random claims of violations and ensure site visitors that the company uses their personal information responsibly and with care.

 

A website privacy policy should always state its effective date and address the following:

 

·                    Types of information that may be collected when a person visits the website

·                    How this information is collected (when provided by the customer or automatically through data collection technologies)

·                    The site owner’s practices for using, maintaining, and disclosing that information

·                    How visitors can choose how their personal information is used or disclosed (site owners may need to obtain consent if it is used for purposes unrelated to the business's interaction with the visitor)

·                    How users can access, correct, and remove any personal information collected by the site

·                    Steps taken by the site operator to protect personal information

·                    Whether the website is intended for children under 13 years of age (there are separate legal requirements for this group)

·                    If advertisements are placed on the site or links to other third-party websites, it should be disclosed that those third parties can collect information of the site visitors as well 

·                    How changes to privacy policy may be made

·                    Contact information of the site operator

 

To maximize enforceability, a website privacy policy must always be placed on a prominent place on the website and be easily accessible to the users. It should also be consistent with the website’s Terms of Use and other representations. Where particularly sensitive personal information is collected, it is a good practice to obtain explicit consent from the user. It is usually done by requiring the user to click on an “I agree” button or check a box indicating that policy was read and the user assents to its terms.

 

To ensure the privacy policy accurately reflects the website's current and anticipated information handling practices, technical features, and content, it should always be drafted by an experienced business attorney. After it is posted on the site it should be periodically reviewed by a legal counsel for the business's compliance with the privacy policy and existing laws. Failing to implement good business practices and effective procedures to comply with legal requirements exposes the site owners to potential liability and damages.

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