This whole blog post could be just one sentence: “because a bad Privacy Policy can land you in front of the Senate.” Unfortunately, we are trying to work on our SEO so we will just have to elaborate. A Privacy Policy is an agreement that specifies what information you collect on your website, what you do with it and who you share it with. If only people came with Privacy Policies – “heads up: she will share that embarrassing picture of you in a multi-colored track suit that your grandma took while you were still in middle school.” Almost every business has a website and almost every website has a contact us form, which collects personally identifiable information (e.g. name, e-mail or phone number). You may even be asking yourself, “does my website need a Privacy Policy?” Spoiler alert: yes. 

Why does your website need a Privacy Policy?

  1. A Privacy Policy is required by law. If you collect any private information on your website (e.g. name and email), you are required by the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 and by the General Data Protection Regulation to have a comprehensive, easy to understand and transparent Privacy Policy (we hope you are taking notes Zuckerberg). If you do not follow the requirements of GDPR you can be fined either 4% of global turnover or up to €20 million, whichever is higher. The fines for not following the California law are $2,500 per visitor to your website from California. Since all of the scandals of violations of consumer privacy, seventeen bills are currently proposed that will impose new requirements on you in terms of your privacy practices and Privacy Policy. The important thing to remember with these laws and bills is that they are intended to protect the privacy of consumers, not the ability of businesses to use information with impunity. Also, the bills apply to the consumers of that state and not where the business is actually located. This means that California or New York law could apply to you, even if you’re based in Illinois. 
  2. A good Privacy Policy will help prevent lawsuits. With a Privacy Policy, you lessen your chances of a lawsuit from the government (see #1) and also lawsuits from your customers. Being honest and transparent about what you do with data will reduce the number of customers that feel cheated because they did not get enough information on what you do with their data. Also, some of the proposed bills would allow consumers to sue you directly for violations of the law. Private plaintiffs and their attorneys have plenty of time to hunt down violators of the law and, if they are able to sue personally, will not hesitate to do so. The best way to prepare for this onslaught is by having a clear and comprehensive Privacy Policy that keeps you in compliance.
  3. A Privacy Policy is required by some third party services such as Google AdSense and Amazon Affiliates. Google Analytics, AdSense, Amazon Affiliates and a number of other such services require you to have a Privacy Policy. If you don’t have a Privacy Policy, you may not be allowed to use those services or you may be cut off by violating the Terms and Conditions of Google, Amazon or a number of other services. 
  4. A Privacy Policy builds trust with your customers. Have you ever heard the saying that people will do business with others that they know, like and trust? Having a Privacy Policy that is transparent shows that you care about your customer’s data and that you are willing to put in the time to dissuade their concerns and answer their questions. This helps establish trust with your customers and can even lead to more sales.

It is clear that your website needs a Privacy Policy – it will help you comply with the law, avoid lawsuits, enable you to use third party services and aid in the building of trust with consumers. We generate Privacy Policies and automatically update them whenever the laws change. We hope to see you register today!

Protect yo’ self,

Team Termageddon