What Is a Privacy Policy?

By
Nicole Georgiev
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Everyone likes their privacy, right? They’re entitled to it, and it’s only right for them to get it. In the digital age, privacy is something that is brought up more and more. After all, people share a lot of information online whether it’s knowingly or unknowingly. That’s where а privacy policy can come into play. But what is a privacy policy?

There are all kinds of eCommerce website builder platforms that are made every day and for people located all over the world. This means that trying to regulate privacy can be challenging. In fact, every country can have different privacy laws. Whether you need an e-commerce privacy policy or one for your mobile app, you’ll have to understand what this kind of policy is.

If you have a website or a mobile app that collects personal information from visitors or users, it's crucial to have a privacy page. This page should be easily accessible, thorough, and detailed. Having your policies clearly stated and easy to access is one of the B2B eCommerce website tips we’ve mentioned in the past.

Before you create your own privacy notice, you should understand what is a privacy policy and what it entails.

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Privacy Policy Definition

A privacy policy is a legal document or statement. It explains the way a company collects, handles, processes, and also respects the personal data from customers that visit the website or app. In most cases, a privacy statement or policy is considered to be one of the most important documents that you’ll find on a website.

While privacy policies are considered to be a legal document, you should put some thought and effort into creating your own. That way it will be easy to understand and accurate. Trying to hide certain clauses in the text is something that is not acceptable. 

These policies are necessary to have for digital platforms that collect user data. Such platforms can include eCommerce software sites, websites, blogs, mobile applications, web applications, desktop applications, and more. 

Privacy policies can be referred to as: 

  • Privacy Page
  • Privacy Information
  • Privacy Statement
  • Privacy Notice

GDPR Privacy Policy

There are different kinds of privacy policies out there. One of which is the General Data Protection Regulation policy or GDPR. It’s the strictest privacy and security law out there. It was passed by the European Union to impose obligations onto businesses as they collect data or target people in the EU. It went into effect in the European Union on May 25, 2018. 

The GDPR will impose stern fines against violators of this policy’s privacy and security standards. There can also be penalties that reach into the range of tens of millions of euros. 

The GDPR focuses on personal data that allows people to be directly or indirectly identified from available data. This can be by their name, online username, location data, or IP addresses, or cookies. Sensitive personal data is also protected under the GDPR. This can include information regarding racial and ethnic origin, religious beliefs, political opinions, health information, and more.

HIPAA Privacy Policy

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This policy is well known in the health industry. It helps healthcare companies protect data. It’s a federal law that was created for a number of reasons including the following:

  • Improves the ability for health insurance coverage to continue and also be maintained when a person has a new employer. 
  • Standardizes the amount a person can save in a pre-tax savings account by promoting the use of medical savings accounts. 
  • Clarifies sales tax deductions for employers along with additional tax revenue items.
  • Combats fraud, abuse, and waste in health insurance and health care delivery.
  • Improves the access to both long-term care services and coverage including people that have pre-existing conditions. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule assures protection of an individual’s health information. It also allows access to information that is needed in order for them to get quality health care. The HIPAA Privacy Rule permits the use of information and protects the privacy of those people who are in need of health care services. 

CCPA Privacy Policy

The CCPA Privacy Policy is a data privacy law that exists in the State of California. It sets requirements for the way businesses can lawfully handle Californian consumer data.

According to the CCPA, any Golden state resident is a consumer and is therefore protected by the law. Personal information refers to any kind of data that can be used in order to identify a person, device, or household. Examples of this include names, email addresses, eCommerce analytics software, and cookies. 

A “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link is also part of the CCPA privacy policy. Consumers can use this link to submit a request to not have their personal information sold.

Potentially Collectible Online Information

Companies can collect all kinds of information when digital customers visit their websites or apps. This can depend on the purpose of the website or app. Common examples include personal information such as the following: 

Why Is a Privacy Policy Necessary?

A website privacy policy can help build trust between you and your customers. It can also offer transparency. With a straightforward policy, your customers will see that you respect their personal information and data. Customers will also appreciate your willingness to follow regulations.

Privacy policies allow you to be as transparent as possible. It makes it simple for customers to see what data you collect and what you do with it. Even if you have a website or app that doesn’t collect personal information, creating a privacy statement can be a good idea. Most customers will expect to see privacy policies when they visit websites so not having one can confuse them. 

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Where Should You Put Your Privacy Policy?

Privacy policies are meant to be read which means that you shouldn’t hide them somewhere on your website. It’s important for people who visit your website to know that such a policy exists which means that it should be hard to miss. 

Most websites include a link in the footer of the website that reads “Privacy” or a direct link to the policy itself. It's also crucial to remind your customers that there is a privacy page as they browse through your website or app. You can request that users accept the policy when they create an account on your website. Also, users can accept the policy when they check out if you have a transactional website.

Including a checkbox that requires people to confirm that they’ve read and also agree with your privacy notice can also be a good idea. This ensures that you have their consent to collect personal information. 

The eCommerce terms and conditions and cookie policies on your website should also mention your privacy policies. 

Final Thoughts on Privacy Policy

Websites that collect any kind of personal information from their customers should have privacy policies. Not only will you comply with the privacy laws, but you’ll build trust with your customers as you inform them of your actions. You can look at a privacy policy example to get an idea of what your website needs. In some cases, your privacy policy can be found on the about us page of your website. Look at these about us page examples.

You can consult with a lawyer to help you draft up a policy that is tailored to your business. There is also a standard privacy policy that you can generate in order to save money and time. Using a privacy policy template is another great way to save you time and ensure you include everything you need.

It’s crucial to create a privacy policy on your own instead of copying and pasting one from another website. This can help you avoid including information that isn’t applicable to your company or brand. You can also include essential information in a custom privacy policy.

Keep in mind that websites aren’t the only place that privacy policies are necessary. Mobile applications should also have them.

Frequently Asked Questions About Privacy Policies

What Is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy refers to a legal document or statement that indicates how a website or company collects, handles, and processes customer and visitor data. This policy explains whether the information that is collected is kept confidential or if it’s used to share or sell to third parties. 

Can I Write My Own Privacy Policy?

Yes, you can write your own privacy policy. In most cases, you won’t need to have a lawyer write your website’s privacy policy. There are many online resources that can help you write the policy on your own. 

Is It Illegal Not To Have a Privacy Policy?

No, it is not illegal to not have a privacy policy on your website. However, there are laws in place that require you to have one if you collect visitor or customer information. If you don’t have a privacy policy on your website when it’s required by law, you can be held liable.