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Privacy policies are necessary for any digital medium that collects user data, such as websites, e-commerce sites, blogs, web applications, mobile applications, and desktop applications.
You might also know privacy policies by other names, such as:
- Privacy statement.
- Privacy page.
- Privacy notice.
- Privacy information.
What Information Do You Collect?
The information your company collects through digital customer visits usually depends on the purpose of your website or app and your industry. Common examples of personal information collected digitally include:
- First name and last name.
- Mailing address.
- Billing address.
- Email address.
- Phone number.
- Marital status.
- Religious beliefs.
- Credit card information.
Other information might relate specifically to customer actions within the site. For example, if your website allows users to share pictures, comment on posts, or like other user's information, you might collect all that data, as well.
Privacy policies are not just a good way to build trust with and offer transparency to your customers — they're also legally necessary and required by most third-party applications.
Digital privacy laws and regulations exist all over the world, so if your website draws visitors from outside of your state or country, you need to abide by their local privacy laws in addition to your own. It's absolutely vital that you research the legal obligations relevant to your customer base to ensure you're abiding by the necessary laws.
- The Federal Trade Commission Act: Regulates commercial practices.
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act: Protects certain digital communications from unauthorized use.
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Makes unauthorized computer and data access illegal.
- Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act: Requires parental consent before collecting information from children under the age of 13.
- Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act: Governs deception and disclosure through email marketing.
- Financial Services Modernization Act: Governs personal information use by financial institutions.
- Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: Requires creditors and other financial institutions to maintain identity theft prevention programs.
Many states also have specific privacy laws. California's law, called the California Online Privacy Protection Act , is the most comprehensive and strict nationwide, so most companies use it for guidance when structuring their privacy policies.
If you have customers or website visitors from all over the world , you should refer to international privacy laws to ensure you're meeting all the necessary legal requirements.
- Customer data: List the types of information you collect and explain how it's collected.
- Usage: Explain how you use the information you collect.
- Storage and protection: Describe how you store and protect customer information to keep it safe from hackers.
- Tracking: Explain how your company uses tools like cookies, log files, and other tracking tools.
- Opt out: Provide the option to opt out of data collection.
- Public data: Explain how you control and share any public data.
- Third-party access: Describe what access third-party services will have to your customers' data.
- Changing or removing: Explain how you go about modifying or deleting customer data.
- Transfers: Offer information on if, how, and when you'll share personal information with other businesses.
- Marketing: Give notice if you'll use the provided email address to send marketing information from your company.
- Questions: Offer frequently asked questions and answers regarding data collection and usage.
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