Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy agreement is the agreement where you specify if you collect personal data, what kind of personal data you collect from users and what you do with that data.

This agreement is required by law if you collect personal data. Personal data is any kind of data or information that can be considered personal (identifies an individual):

  • Email address
  • First and last name
  • Billing and shipping address
  • Credit card information
  • And so on

This agreement can also be known under these names:

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

The Privacy Policy can be used for both your website and mobile app if it’s adapted to include the platforms your business operates on.

The contents of a Privacy Policy may differ from one country to another, depending on the country legislation, but most privacy laws identify the following critical points that a business must comply with when dealing with personal data:

  • Notice. Data collectors (meaning, you or your company) must make clear what they are doing with the personal information from users before gathering it.
  • Choice. The companies collecting the data must respect the choices of users on what information to provide and how personal that provided information will be.
  • Access. Users should be able to view or contest the accuracy of personal data collected by the company.
  • Security. The companies are entirely responsible for the accuracy and security (keeping it properly away from unauthorized eyes and hands) of the collected personal information.

This means that a “Privacy Policy” serves as a way to inform users how their personal information will be used, along with how the information will be collected and who has access to it.

Who needs a Privacy Policy

Any entity (company or individual) that collects or uses personal information from users will need a Privacy Policy.

A Privacy Policy is required regardless of the type of platform your business operates on or what kind of industry you are in:

  • Web sites
  • WordPress blogs, or any other platforms: Joomla!, Drupal etc.
  • E-commerce stores
  • Mobile apps. Not having a Privacy Policy can be a reason for rejection during the app review.

    A Privacy Policy is required for all iOS apps. Section 17 of “Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines” and the “iOS Developer Program License” require developers with apps that collect personal information from users to have this legal agreement.

  • In the US, there are no overall laws. The U.S. privacy legislation may vary from one state to another. Certain federal laws that govern users’ data in some circumstances, such as in these examples:

    • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The obliges organizations to offer clear and accurate statements about their information collecting practices and it also limits usage and sharing of financial data
    • COPPA law. The act is especially for web sites that gather information about children under 13 – any site of this category is legally obliged to adhere to the restrictions implemented by the act.
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The act applies to online health services too.
    • California Online Privacy Protection Act.
    • SOPIPA law. This act applies if you collect personal data from students.
    • Content Eraser law. This law applies if you collect data from minors (under the age of 18).
    • Before you draft this agreement for your business, consider the basic requirements for most online businesses that deal with personal data from users (this includes SaaS apps or Facebook apps as well).

      • That the privacy of your users is protected
      • That you take full responsibility to protect the privacy of your users
      • That you comply with active privacy laws.

      Based on these above, the basic requirements of Privacy Policy agreements are:

      • What information you collect from users. “Information” means “personal information”: any kind of information that has the potential to identify a user.
      • What will you do with the collected personal information
      • With whom you share the collected personal information, i.e. with third-parties

      Users need to know what kind personal data you collect from them. It’s best to tell users exactly what data you collect from them and why:

      • Contact information, such as email address
      • Name, profession and date of birth
      • Preferences and interests
      • And so on

      Your agreement should mention why you collect this kind of data. Generally, the only purpose for collecting personal data from users is to use it and do what’s best for your company and users as well:

      • You may use the data gathered to help towards development of new services or improve your existing services
      • You may send users emails about special offers, new services or other information that may be interesting for them
      • You may use their data to get in touch with them in order to invite them to participate in market research
      • Nonetheless, their personal information may be used to personalize their sessions on your website in order to better fit their interests, such as offering them relevant, individually tailored content

      If you already have the agreement for your website and you’re now launching a mobile app, you need to first consider what kind of new personal data you collect through the mobile app. Then update your agreement to include the new changes: what you collect from the website and from the mobile app.

      A few examples:

      • The Information Collection And Use section is the most important section of the entire agreement where you need to inform users what kind of personal information you collect and how you are using that information.
      • Log Data disclosure section should inform users that certain data are collected automatically from the web browser users are using and through the web server you’re using: IP addresses, browser types (Firefox, Chrome etc.), browser versions and various pages that users are visiting.
      • Cookies disclosure should inform users that you may store cookies on your their computers when they visit the pages of your website.

        This applies even if you use Google Analytics (which would store cookies) or any other third party that would store cookies.

        It’s best to do this through a separate Cookies Policy.

      • Links To Other Sites is a very common disclosure added in a Privacy Policy informing users that your website may link to other websites outside your control or ownership, i.e. linking to a news website, and that users are advised to read the Privacy Policies of each website they visit.
      • Do Not Track clause. The Do Not Track requirement for a Privacy Policy applies only to U.S. companies.
      • Security disclosure in the policy can give users assurance that their personal data is well protected, but you may also want to note that no method is 100% secure.

        The security of your Personal Information is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage, is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

        Example of trust elements can include SSL certificates. Definitely use SSL certificates if you have an ecommerce store.