What is a Privacy Policy?

A Privacy Policy is an important document for your website that tells visitors exactly how your company collects their information and what your company does with it.

It’s technically a legal document, but it’s very important it’s drafted in such a way that your visitors can easily understand it. Obscuring hidden clauses in difficult to understand text is not an acceptable course of action.

Why should you have a Privacy Policy?

When a visitor browses your website and makes a purchase from your webstore, your company needs to collect certain information from your visitor and store information on their computer (such as cookies that remember what’s in your visitor’s cart as well as their login session to their account).

Information you will be collecting usually includes, but is not limited to, their name, email address, shipping address and phone number.

This is sensitive information. Your company’s Privacy Policy will let a visitor know that you’re only collecting this information to fulfill the order they have placed with you and contact them in case any problems occur. Your company may also store this information into an account to make future purchases easier for the visitor.

It’s important to have a Privacy Policy to put your visitors at ease and cover yourself from any legal trouble regarding this information.

What should a Privacy Policy cover?

Introduction:
A section that tells your visitor about your company, including any special information or functions that your website has. Should your website have special conditions for collecting information from minors, it’s important to state them clearly in this section.

Information Collected:
Inform your visitors what information you are collecting from them. They have the right to know this, so don’t omit anything. It may be obvious that you are collecting personal details when they fill out a form, but it’s a good idea to repeat this here to avoid any issues or confusion. Don’t forget to include the information your server logs, such as hostnames and IP addresses.

Method of Collection:
This details the methods you use to collect the information. Are forms automated to collect other information, such as original referrer, or do they only collect the information a visitor puts into them? Do you place cookies in your visitors’ browsers that help collect the information? All of this information will help you build a detailed description of how you collect their information.

Storage of information:
How is the information stored? If the data is stored in a database, explain where the server is located. There are different protection laws for information storage per country and even per state, so it’s important to be clear with your visitors where their information ends up. Explain what legal permissions you have obtained and what obligations you have towards different organizations in the event of fraud. Visitors have the right to know that you will make every effort to store their personal information in a safe and secure environment.

Contact details:
It’s important that visitors have the ability to send in questions, as a Privacy Policy needs to be as transparent as possible. You should provide visitors with both an email address (or an online form), as well as a real world address where they can write to. Optionally you may list a phone number for direct contact.

Example Privacy Policy

To make setting up a Privacy Policy easier, we’ve written this so called “boilerplate” policy for you to use as a template to create your own.

Please remember that this is very general and may not cover all the details of your website’s information handling. It’s highly advised to amend the policy to suit your specific needs. You may also want to run your policy by your web developer to make sure that you have indeed included all of the information your server collects. In all cases, you should have your privacy policy reviewed by a lawyer to make certain it is in compliance with the laws of your country, state, territory or other locale. We make no guarantees as to the legality of this sample document.

Thank you for visiting our web site. This privacy policy tells you how we use personal information collected at this site. Please read this privacy policy before using the site or submitting any personal information. By using the site, you are accepting the practices described in this privacy policy. These practices may be changed, but any changes will be posted and changes will only apply to activities and information on a going forward, not retroactive basis. You are encouraged to review the privacy policy whenever you visit the site to make sure that you understand how any personal information you provide will be used.

Note: the privacy practices set forth in this privacy policy are for this web site only. If you link to other web sites, please review the privacy policies posted at those sites.

Collection of Information
Our Site may collect personally identifiable information, like names, postal addresses, email addresses etc., only when voluntarily submitted by our visitors. The information you provide is only used to fulfill your specific request, such as shipping items to you, unless you give us permission to use it in another manner, for example to add you to one of our mailing lists.

Cookie/Tracking Technology
Our Site may use cookie and tracking technology depending on the features offered. Cookie and tracking technology are useful for gathering information such as browser type and operating system, tracking the number of visitors to the Site, keeping track of your shopping cart and understanding how visitors use the Site. Cookies can also help customize the Site for visitors. Personal information cannot be collected via cookies and other tracking technology, however, if you previously provided personally identifiable information, cookies may be tied to such information. Aggregate cookie and tracking information may be shared with third parties.

Advertising
Ads appearing on our site may be delivered to Users by advertising partners, who may set cookies. These cookies allow the ad server to recognize your computer each time they send you an online advertisement to compile non personal identification information about you or others who use your computer. This information allows ad networks to, among other things, deliver targeted advertisements that they believe will be of most interest to you. This privacy policy does not cover the use of cookies by any advertisers.

Third party websites
Users may find advertising or other content on our Site that link to the sites and services of our partners, suppliers, advertisers, sponsors, licensors and other third parties. We do not control the content or links that appear on these sites and are not responsible for the practices employed by websites linked to or from our Site. In addition, these sites or services, including their content and links, may be constantly changing. These sites and services may have their own privacy policies and customer service policies. Browsing and interaction on any other website, including websites which have a link to our Site, is subject to that website’s own terms and policies.

Distribution of Information
We may share your Personal Information with governmental agencies or other companies assisting us in fraud prevention or investigation. We may do so when: (1) permitted or required by law; or, (2) trying to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud or unauthorized transactions; or, (3) investigating fraud which has already taken place. The information is not provided to these companies for marketing purposes.

We may provide your Personal Information to third party service providers and suppliers who work on behalf of or with us to provide you with some of the services and features of the Site and to help us communicate with our users and clients. However, these service providers and suppliers do not have any independent right to use this information.

Commitment to Data Security
We adopt appropriate data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures to protect against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of your personal information, username, password, transaction information and data stored on our Site.

Your personally identifiable information is kept secure. Only authorized employees, agents and contractors (who have agreed to keep information secure and confidential) have access to this information. All emails and newsletters from this site allow you to opt out of further mailings.

Warranties
This site and all materials contained on it are distributed and transmitted on an “as is” and “as available” basis, without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. The appearance of external hyperlinks and/or other materials generated by third parties does not constitute an endorsement by [COMPANY NAME], its subsidiaries and affiliates, of the opinions or views expressed by these third party web sites. [COMPANY NAME] explicitly disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy, content, availability, currency, completeness or quality of the content contained at these sites. Further, [COMPANY NAME] is not responsible for the quality or delivery of the products or services offered, accessed, obtained by or advertised at such sites. As such, neither nor its subsidiaries and affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information contained in these sites.

In no event shall [COMPANY NAME] have any liability to you for claims, damages, losses, etc. exceeding the amount paid by you, if any, for accessing this site.

Contact us
If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, please contact us at:

[YOUR CONTACT INFO]

We may update these policies at any time.

Share this article
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin