Table of Contents
Do podcasts collect PII?
Privacy laws can start applying to your podcast as soon as you collect PII so it is important to first determine whether you actually collect PII so that you may determine what privacy laws apply to you and your podcast. PII is generally defined as any information that could identify a particular person or any information related to a particular person. Examples of PII include names, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, IP addresses or device identifiers.
If you have a website for your podcast, chances are that you are probably collecting PII through any of the following features:
- Email newsletter subscription forms;
- Contact forms;
- Guest inquiry forms;
- Sponsorship forms;
- Analytics features (including Google Analytics and podcast-specific analytics);
- Advertising features (such as Facebook or Google Pixels).
Do determine what privacy laws apply to you, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Who can submit their PII to your podcast?
- Who is tracked as they listen to your podcast?
- Where is your podcast available?
- To whom do you offer the podcasting service?
For example, if you collect the PII of residents of California, the California Online Privacy and Protection Act (CalOPPA) can apply to you. Or, if you collect the PII of residents of Nevada and do business in that state, then Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 603A can apply to you.
At this point, you may be thinking that since you have a podcast, that you are not actually “doing business” in any states or countries. However, while some privacy laws regulate individuals who operate a website for any purpose (including a podcasting website), others regulate those who operate the website for a commercial purpose. A commercial purpose is a way to advance commercial or economic interests such as by asking an individual to buy or subscribe to a particular product, good, or service. Many podcasts have a commercial purpose such as:
- Asking individuals to subscribe to your podcast to get access to new episodes prior to them being released to a non-paying audience;
- Selling podcast swag such as t-shirts, mugs, or hats;
- Inputting affiliate links to podcast descriptions where you receive a commission anytime someone purchases certain products;
- Selling sponsorship slots or advertisements within your podcast episodes.