Note: It goes without saying that I'm a web designer/developer and NOT a lawyer so please consult a professional for the best advice. I can only speak to what I know is industry standard but if you have any questions or concerns, always consult a professional.
Yeah, "oh crap" would be an appropriate reaction here.
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- you collect information about visitors to your website
- you earn money through your website
Understanding Privacy Policies
This personal information that you collect about users & visitors to your website is super important to growing your business, since it allows you to learn more about your audience and therefore better serve them. However, people are real live human beings and want to be reassured that you won't go rogue with that information.
Sounds fair, right?
As much as Privacy Policies are there to protect the information of visitors to your website, they're also in place to protect you and your business. Did you know that you can be fined or sued if you fail to disclose to visitors that you are collecting their personal information without informing them?
Know your privacy laws and protect yourselves.
When in doubt, the answer is yes.
Finally, it's just common decency to let people know that you might be collecting information about them and letting them know what you plan to do with that data. By being honest about the information you're collecting and why, you're proving to visitors that you're not a shady person/business.
- Protect you and your business
- Inform and educate visitors/users of your website.
- Who you are (e.g, your name or that of your business), where you're located and your contact information (email address is fine)
- What information you collect (e.g., visitors name, email, IP address, etc.)
- How that information is collected and why it is being collected
- How you're keeping the collected information private, safe and secure
- How long that information will be stored and kept private
- Whether it is optional or required that users share their personal information with your website, and whether or not they can opt out of it. If that's the case, make sure you're outlining what that means for using/visiting your website
- Any third-party services your website uses to collect, process or store that personal information about visitors to your website (e.g., email newsletter, ad network, etc.)
However, that's not always possible or realistic, for a variety of reasons (shoutout to my start-up friends with limited budgets!).
If you fall into that second category, fear not, you're not totally screwed.
- CFIB - This is especially helpful if you live in Canada like I do
A note to my American friends: Be sure to address COPPA (i.e., use of your website by individuals aged 13 or under).
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