Thursday, February 14, 2013

Writing a Privacy Policy for Your Website

Online privacy policies have taken center stage as social networking sites and search engines have recently come under fire for sharing user information. Even if you think your business is too small to merit a privacy policy, the Better Business Bureau advises that if you have a website, you will benefit by having a comprehensive privacy policy.

When drafting your website’s privacy policy, BBB recommends using simple language to answer the following five questions:

  • What information do you collect? – Outline the types of personal information that you collect from customers. This includes home address, e-mail, phone numbers and credit card numbers.
  • How do you collect the information? – Disclose how data is being collected to show you have nothing to hide.
  • How do you use the information? – Include background on how you share customer information with third parties such as to process orders.
  • What control does the customer have over their personal information? – Customers need a way to contact your business and control their personal data. Plan to include a direct phone number or e-mail address that customers can use to manage their information.
  • How do you protect the information? – Explain how you protect customer data including, but not limited to, website encryption, limiting employee access to sensitive customer data, and server security.
Your business is unique and your privacy policy should reflect that.  Seek legal guidance before you finalize your policy. You are legally liable if you fail to abide by your privacy policy statement or if the statement does not comply with local and national laws.

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