Online Privacy is Important!

Your privacy policy is your company's pledge to your customers about how you will collect, use, share, and protect the consumer data you collect from them. Privacy policies are not required by law, but the FTC does ban deceptive practices. The Small Business Administration makes seven recommendations for businesses who are crafting or updating their privacy policies including

  • Make certain you explain how you will collect and use personal information. Included this should be information about how you will use cookies, how you will share customer information with other entities, and your contact information so that customers can easily file a complaint if need be.
  • Display your privacy policy on your site making it easily accessible to your customers.
  • The CAN-SPAM Act requires that you include opt-out options when you send marketing emails and on your website.
  • If you collect information from children under 13, you will need to ensure that your data collection practices comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

The Federal Trade Commission views this as your contract with your customers and you will be expected to follow it to the letter. Likewise, as new technologies emerge, such as cloud computing, mobile apps, online communities, and your company branches out into new avenues of social media, the privacy policy should be revisited and updated to reflect new ways that you collect and store customer data. TermsFor.it is making this process easier by allowing you to easily disclose these emerging services in your privacy policy.

For web based businesses, a general privacy policy will not work. Your privacy policy should be customized to reflect the kind of data you are collecting as well as how you will in turn use that data. For example, companies who use mobile apps should inform their customers what data they will be collecting, such as GPS location data, how it will be used, and how it will be stored. Businesses cannot automatically assume that consumers will understand the vast amount of information that can be harvested by your mobile app; you must spell it out for them.

It is essential that your privacy policy be updated, accurate, and adhered to. Online powerhouses, such as SnapChat and Facebook, are frequently in the news for their privacy issues and policy changes. Just look at SnapChat... the social media company claimed that messages and pictures sent through their service were private and immediately deleted forever. This claim proved to be misrepresented and in contrast with how the app actually collected and used data. According to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, “If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises... Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action.” Chairwoman Ramirez’s statement is excellent advice, not only for SnapChat, but for all Internet based businesses.

TermsFor.it is on a mission to make Privacy Policies more readable for users and easy-to-create for developers.