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Technology has become a staple of modern life. From cooking and cleaning to work and entertainment, technological advancements surround us everywhere we go. While these advancements have been a blessing in so many ways, one source of contention regarding technology is privacy.
The general public shares a large quantity of personal information online. Some of this information people intend to share. However, there is plenty of information they are unknowingly sharing.Legal Jobs. “18 Chilling Privacy Statistics in 2022“. Accessed March 30, 2022. Regulating privacy is, to say the least, quite complicated. New websites launch daily. It would be nearly impossible to keep up with every website launched each day. Further, when it comes to conducting business over the internet customers may be located not only in different states but throughout the entire world. Privacy laws vary from country to country.The New York Times. “The State of Consumer Data Privacy Laws in the US (And Why It Matters)“. Accessed March 30, 2022.
What Visitor Information Do You Need to Collect?
The personal information collected may vary from site to site. However, in general, sites collect the following information:
- Addresses (postal, billing, and email)
- Payment details (credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, etc.)
- Social Insurance Numbers
- Location (IP address and geolocalization)
Remember that you need to adhere to the privacy laws of your country of operation as well as the countries of any of your consumers. If your business operates out of the United States, but you have customers in Europe you’ll have to comply with both countries’ privacy policies.
Build trust with website users
- Your business name and contact information
- The types of personal information your website collects
- The reasoning behind this data collection
- Personal data storage and usage
- The sharing process of personal information concerning third parties
- User data opt-out information
Business name and contact information
The types of personal information collected
The reason personal data is collected
Once you have explained what information you are collecting and how you will be acquiring it, you will then need to answer the why of it all. Why exactly are you collecting this information? What do you intend to do with your users’ private information? This is something your users will want to understand before moving forward with your services.
Will the potential data you collect contribute to a more customized and user-friendly experience on your site? Will you be selling their private data to third parties? Are you tracking usage to improve your sales? You will need to expand upon your purposes regarding users’ private information.
If your site hosts European users you need to specify the legal basis behind your data collection. eCommerce sites in general should explain how personal information is used to process payments and deliver shipments to customers. While this may seem obvious, it still needs to be stated. You’ll also need to disclose any third parties that will have access to this information such as payment processors and shipping partners.
How personal data is stored and used
After disclosing all this information, Inform your users of the protections you have put in place to ensure that their personal information is secure. How will you guard their private information against unauthorized access? You’ll need to explain how user data will be stored, accessed, and used safely so they need not be overly worried about providing their private information.
How personal information is shared with third parties
You will also need to state any third parties that will be privy to users’ private information and why they will have access to this data. Whether it’s in regards to customer service partners, social media networks, analytics teams, service providers, or outside advertising or marketing firms, you’ll need to disclose the exact businesses that will share the user data. You’ll also need to elaborate on how this data will be shared so you can assure your users that there is a secure process in place for every transfer of this critical information. Additionally, you should link to the privacy policies of these third-party businesses for full transparency.
Users have the right to know that sharing their personal information with your business is not mandatory. Inform users that they can limit what they share, opt out of sharing private information entirely, or revoke their content to share at any time. However, these options may limit their experiences with your products or site and you should seek to explain how. Detail any rights that users have regarding their data. Note that this can be specific to a country or region, so different users may have different data protection rights and policies.
Disclosure of risk
Finally, for your business’s safety, it may be a good idea to include a statement of risk. Relay to users that your business places the highest regard on privacy, but despite your best efforts you cannot guarantee the safety of user data.Forbes. “50 Stats Showing Why Companies Need To Prioritize Consumer Privacy“. Accessed March 30, 2022. Your site may be subject to unauthorized access, malware, or a cyber attack. Even top businesses have experienced a security breach and there will always be a certain level of risk when it comes to the collection, storage, and usage of private data.
Websites that do not collect data
Is There a Penalty for Non-Compliance?
Final Thoughts on Information Privacy Policies
Data privacy legislation is everchanging as website visitors and app users are becoming increasingly aware of the risks associated with data collection. Privacy is of the utmost importance to most consumers so they want to know what information businesses and websites alike are collecting. Further, people want to know why their private information is being collected and what those who are privy to their information plan to do with it. Data policies can address these questions and hopefully put users at ease.
- Legal Jobs. “18 Chilling Privacy Statistics in 2022“. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- The New York Times. “The State of Consumer Data Privacy Laws in the US (And Why It Matters)“. Accessed March 30, 2022.
- Forbes. “50 Stats Showing Why Companies Need To Prioritize Consumer Privacy“. Accessed March 30, 2022.