Does Your Website Need a Privacy Policy?

Even the big guys can take a privacy hit.

If you’ve paid attention to the news in the last few years, you may remember some data breaches of very high profile companies. Equifax, Twitter, Marriott, MGM, and Zoom are among the unfortunate victims of hackers exploiting databases and account information.

Because many of these breaches affect thousands of people across the United States and beyond, U.S. lawmakers are developing new legislation to protect personal information.

More than a dozen states in the U. S. have proposed or are currently enforcing privacy laws to safeguard citizens’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Each of these laws has specific conditions for not complying, as well as their penalties.

Some states recommend that corporations be fined more than $5,000(per website visitor) for infringement.

Some states are introducing a private right of action (which means that residents of that state can sue corporations anywhere in the United States).

The key takeaway for business owners that use websites to collect user information is that these laws don’t care where you do your primary business and are not limited to where the organization is based. These laws protect citizens. They don’t protect businesses.

Any website that requests a ‘name’ and ’email’ address through a contact form not only needs to have a compliant Privacy Policy. Website owners should plan to keep their policies up-to-date when laws are updated.

How do I make my website PII compliant?

First of all, website owners should either work with a web developer or find a specialist to make sure their website follows standard commonsense security recommendations. It is especially critical for e-commerce websites. 

Create a page specifically for the privacy policy and then create an easily identifiable link or button that shows up on every page of the website. Most businesses include this in the footer of each page.

What’s a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a statement that discloses some or how a business collects, uses, discloses, and manages a client or customer’s personal information.*

Personal data identifies an individual without restriction to the name, address, date of birth, marital status, contact data, the ID and expiry dates of the person, financial records, credit information, the medical history and travel plans of the person, and the intentions for goods and services.*

How do you create a Privacy Policy? 

If money’s not a problem for your business, then having an attorney who specializes in privacy documents is a safe way to go. Your attorney can write and maintain your privacy document. 

Another safe option available to business owners that is more cost-effective is using an online service like Termagedden to create and maintain your website’s privacy policy. 

Termageddon is the longest-running Privacy Policy generator listed as a vendor by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (iapp.org). The company is founded and run by a licensed privacy attorney who also serves as the Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association – ePrivacy Committee.

Termagedden’s onboarding process is straight-forward. The new user signs up for an account. Then, a privacy policy questionnaire generates a privacy document. If you get stuck, Termagedden’s legal specialists are available for questions in case something needs clarification. 

Once your privacy document is ready, a small snippet of code is generated and then added to your website’s Privacy Policy page. The code renders the new policy content on that page.

The genius behind this is that when new laws come into play that affects your privacy policy, the content updates automatically through Termagedden. You don’t have to contact anyone or write new updates. The process is automated.

What are the benefits?

The benefit to business owners in compliance is that they avoid massive fines and lawsuits. In the event of a legal situation, they’re able to limit liability. If they’re using a policy generator like Termagedden, they’ll retain more control over the content of the website and ultimately protect any intellectual property. 

The best thing a privacy policy does is give your customers confidence in how their data is protected. It makes your business appear legitimate and professional. 

 

Cooperata is not a legal entity. Please contact your own legal counsel for clarification on anything discussed in this article.  
We use Termagedden at Cooperata and strongly recommend taking a close look at this service for your solo or small business. We like it so much we became an affiliate and are confident in recommending it. If you have questions regarding the service, let us know. We’ll be glad to set you up with a demonstration. For more information about Termagedden, go here.

 

*Privacy Policy – Wikipedia

 

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