Are you struggling to understand the new data regulations, or do your eyes cloud over when you hear about data privacy?
- What information are you collecting?
- What do you do with that information?
- With whom do you share the information?
As you can see, privacy policies provide essential information to people who visit your website. After all, with data breaches, security leaks, and other malicious activity seemingly happening every other day, consumers are more concerned about improving their data privacy.
Some examples of PII include:
- Email Addresses
- Phone Numbers
- Credit Card Numbers
- IP Addresses
Some misconceptions about privacy policies could put you in trouble with the authorities or your customers, so let's clear them up.
It's the Law
Third-Party Apps Require It
Customers are becoming more sensitive about their data privacy. One of the ways you can gain their trust is by assuring them that you will protect their data from misuse and malicious actors when they visit your site.
Avoid Fines and Court
SEO, Branding, and Marketing Purposes
The Laws Currently Affecting Privacy Policies
Multiple laws in various regions and sectors govern how websites use personal information.
European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The third law is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This law went into effect in 2020 and granted California residents more control over the personal information collected by businesses. They have the right to know what data you're collecting and how you're using it, and they can request that you delete their data.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 governs the use of personally identifiable information in the healthcare sector. It prevents sharing patient information with anyone other than a patient and their representatives. Beyond healthcare providers, businesses operating in that sector must also be HIPAA compliant.
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) applies to websites and online services that cater to children below the age of 13 and obtain personal information about their visitors. COPPA restricts the information these sites can collect and gives parents tools to control the data collected.
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) is a financial sector regulation that requires all companies offering financial products and services to disclose their information management practices to consumers. Compliance is mandatory for all financial institutions in the United States.
While most of these laws seem limited to specific regions or sectors, the fact that websites can have visitors from anywhere in the world means that your online business can also fall under the jurisdiction of these laws.
1. What information do you collect from your website visitors?
There are various types of private information, and your policy should identify which ones your website collects from visitors.
2. Why is this information collected?
The reason you collect the different types of user information is just as important as the information collected. For instance, do you collect data to improve the customer's experience? Is it to contact them in the future?
3. How is this information collected?
Thirdly, your policy should state how you're collecting personal information. Personal information is collected in various ways, both passively (cookies and third parties) and actively (registration forms, surveys, and checkout forms).
4. What will this information be used for, and who will access it?
How do you intend to use the personal information collected on your site? Are you simply storing it for a period of time and eventually deleting it? Will third parties have access to this information? If so, what parts can they access?
Customers should know when you change your policy regarding the personal information they’ve entrusted to you and be alerted to said changes.
6. How can visitors with questions about your site's privacy statement contact someone?
Have different contact information for policy-related questions so they don’t end up mixed with general inquiries about your website.
7. How is user information protected?
How do you store all the private information from your visitors that you collect, and what measures do you use to safeguard it from malicious actors?
Regulations Are Constantly Changing
Owing to the need for ever-increasing protection, the world of privacy regulations is constantly changing. To illustrate, over 15 states have proposed privacy bills that will affect website privacy terms if passed. Additionally, five states have already passed laws that will go into effect throughout 2023. Non-compliance with these new and existing laws can adversely affect businesses. As we remember, Amazon was fined $877 million for GDPR violations in 2021.
Liquid Web Can Help With Compliant Web Hosting
Contact one of The Most Helpful Humans In Hosting® today and learn more about how they care about your data privacy.
Marho is a Community Support agent at The Events Calendar and enjoys helping people discover how information technology can provide great solutions to their everyday problems. His career in IT can clearly be traced to his love for all things science fiction.
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