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June Bachman June Bachman

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Itís Time to Review Your Website Privacy Policy
By: June Bachman ~ 2/2/2012 9:00:00 AM

Has it been a while since you wrote your website privacy policy?  If so, there’s no time like the present to review your policy and make any necessary updates and changes.

There are two important things to keep in mind about your primary policy:

  • The main purpose of your privacy policy is to clearly disclose what types of information you collect, how you use the information, and with whom that information is shared.
  • The federal government views privacy policies as a contract between websites and their visitors.  If you fail to deliver what you promise, the Federal Trade Commission can find you liable for damages.

Take your privacy policy seriously.

As you take a moment to read through your privacy policy, think about what your website does regarding the collection, use of and sharing of information about your website visitors.  And, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you included all of the information/data that you collect about your visitors?
  • Does your privacy policy explain all of the ways that you use the information/data that you collect?
  • Are the promises you make in your privacy policy in line with the marketing practices actually followed by your company?

Checklist – Consider including these items in your privacy policy.

  • Sharing Personal Information – Include in your policy all of the ways you may share the information collected with other companies.  Think about the different ways you market, and don’t forget about any third parties with whom you may share the information.
  • Website Hosting Company – Make sure your website hosting company is contractually bound to maintain the privacy and security of personal information you collect.
  • Cookies – Check with your web developer to see if your website uses cookies to collect information.  If it does, include this information in the policy.
  • Linking to Other Websites – If you link to other websites, include information that directs website users to also review the privacy policies of those websites.  Clearly indicate that you are not responsible for the privacy policies and practices of sites to which you link.

This checklist is by no means comprehensive, but it is a step in the right direction to get you started with a privacy policy review.

If you don’t have a privacy policy for your website yet, here are a couple of sites that may help you by formulating a template that you can tailor to your specific needs.