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The New Website Owner's Guide to Privacy Policies

Websites now collect more data than ever. Because of this, website owners must decide how they are going to use this data. They must also let their users know so that they can decide whether or not to give them their data. A privacy policy is the best way to ensure both parties know their obligations concerning data handling. Below, we will look at what a privacy policy is, why you need one, and how to get one on your website.

The Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is simply a legal document that lets users know how a website’s owner will collect, use, manage and protect their data. It also outlines where this data will be stored and if it will be accessible to third parties.

Privacy policies are grouped with cookie notices (notices displayed on websites to tell visitors that the website adds cookies to their browsers), as they both explain how and why a website collects user data.

Privacy policies can be a few lines or tens of pages depending on how the website is built and how detailed they are. Some of the things most privacy policies cover include:

  • Explanation of terms like the user, website, third parties and any other relevant terms

  • Clarification on how a website collects data

  • An explanation of how the data is used once collected

  • What steps a user can take to ensure their data is deleted

  • Whether the data will be accessible to third parties.

Why a Privacy Policy Is Important

With the implementation of cookie and privacy laws in most countries, you would be breaking the law in multiple countries if you did not have a privacy policy up. If you know that your website uses tools like Google Analytics, you need to reference those too, as they are part of the third-party tools mentioned above.

Implementing a Privacy Policy

There are lots of different ways to implement a privacy policy with the method you choose, depending on how complex you want the privacy policy to be.

The first option is creating it manually. This is a very good option for website owners who do not collect too much data and who do not use analytics tools. Privacy policies created this way are usually short as they cover just the basics of data collection. Remember to run your privacy policy past a legal expert because the wording of the privacy policy could open up some loopholes that could be used against you.

Using a privacy policy generator is the next way of implementing a privacy policy. If you look at the best privacy policy generators to use, they all have similar functionality. They all ask about your business, how you collect data, how this data is used, and if you use third-party analytics tools. Their forms usually use checkboxes so you can quickly fill out the information you are asked for. Once you complete the form, a privacy policy will be generated for you. It is important to remember that there are paid and free privacy policy generators, with the paid ones generally offering more options and details than the free ones. If you can, try to go with the paid services.

Shopify has its own privacy policy generator. Shopify is a massive platform that collects a lot of user data, so of course, they have a privacy policy generator. They also created it as a tool that their users and clients can use to create their own privacy policy. The tool is completely free and once you fill out your information, Shopify will send you the privacy policy.

The best thing about this option is that it is fast, simple and completely free. This makes it a good option for people creating simple websites that do not want to pay for other privacy generators or who just want a simple website to stay online.

If you run a WordPress website, which a lot of people do, there are a lot of different privacy policy plugins on the market. Most of them will also generate a Terms of Service document for you. These plugins also create pages where the documents live and can also create a banner on your homepage telling users about the location of your privacy policy.

A privacy policy is a very important document for any website owner who collects data and who would like to be on the right side of the law. If you are a website owner, ensure that your privacy policy is very detailed and has no legal loopholes.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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