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Most of us only pay attention to a privacy policy when it stops us from doing something we want to. But annoying pop-ups aren’t the only way your privacy can be violated—sometimes, it’s hidden away in small print or just assumed. You wouldn’t expect an app that lets strangers see your photos and gives them access to your private messages.

So what can you do to protect yourself? We’ve made this guide so anyone can evaluate a privacy policy and decide if it’s worth trusting. In a minute, you’ll learn how to spot the potential dangers and—more importantly—avoid them.

Read on and find out what matters most in any company’s privacy policy and how to protect yourself against the biggest privacy risks online.

Make it easy to find

While the ideal privacy policy is a simple, straightforward document that tells people precisely what personal data you collect from them and what you do with it, in reality, most privacy policies are incredibly long and complex—even for seasoned tech users. So as much as you might want to blab about every aspect of your privacy policy on your blog, you need to consider whether your readers will have the patience to slog through such a lengthy document.
To help customers easily find your privacy policy, use a prominent link or button labeled “Privacy Policy” or “Data Protection.” This link is the first thing people see when they visit your website. If you don’t want to clutter your homepage with a Privacy Policy link, consider embedding it into the footer. Since most web users make it past the homepage anyway, they’ll be able to find your privacy policy without any trouble. And if they can’t? You might be losing customers without even knowing it.

Information about you

A privacy policy must identify the website’s owner and who is responsible for managing user privacy. This person may be an individual or a team of people. The policy should explain how you work your organization’s data security and what security measures you have in place to protect user information from unauthorized access by anyone, including employees.

The second section of your privacy policy should explain why you collect personal information from users. It would help if you gave people enough context. Hence, they understand why this is important for them and how it benefits them as individuals and your organization as a whole. For example, ask people for their email addresses so they can subscribe to your newsletter. Explain why this is valuable for both parties. In that case, subscribers get free content and updates. At the same time, publishers gain subscribers who are more likely to purchase goods or services from them later on down the line.

State what information you collect 

A privacy policy is a statement that discloses the types of data collected about users and what the business does with this information. Suppose a company or website has a privacy policy. In that case, it’s essential for you to share your knowledge and take advantage of any services they offer. Privacy policies help you give informed consent when you’re asked to provide personal details, like your name and email address, to access free content or participate in an online survey.

There are many different types of information businesses collect about their customers and prospects, including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Demographic information, such as gender and age
  • Financial information, like credit card numbers or bank account numbers
  • Information about transactions conducted on their site, such as purchases made or items viewed but not purchased
  • Search queries entered into search engines, which reveal specific interests and needs of the user

What businesses can do with this information varies from company to firm. They may use it to send you promotional messages, such as coupons or special offers; deliver content that’s relevant to your interests; analyze the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, or customize their sites’ range based on your preferences.

Explain how you will use the information

One of the essential parts of your privacy policy is the explanation of how you plan to use your users’ information. If you have an e-commerce site, data like a customer’s name and address will be used for shipping purposes. Data is also used for marketing. It’s also vital to include if you will be sharing any of this information with third-party organizations.

For example, suppose a user subscribes to a mailing list and purchases a product. In that case, their data may be stored in a database associated with that mailing list and the purchase. This is because both actions can be related. Suppose the user abandoned their shopping cart before they purchased something. In that case, they might be interested in receiving emails encouraging them to complete their purchase. If they completed their purchase, they might still be interested in emails offering them discounts or free shipping on future purchases.

To maintain a positive relationship with its users, you must be transparent about how you will use their data. You should explain what data you are storing, why you are storing it, and for how long (if applicable). You should let your users know who else has access to that information and when it will be deleted from your servers.

Protect your users

In general, we recommend that you make your privacy policy visible on your website. This will alert visitors and make them more aware of what they sign up for when using your service. It’s also just good practice to make people aware of and give them consent to how your site uses their data.

Hopefully, the tips above will guide you toward drafting a privacy policy you can be proud of. Your specific needs may differ from those outlined above. Still, they should give you some starting points to create a privacy policy that keeps your users safe and secure. Good luck with it! Contact us to know more.

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