Privacy Policy

what is a privacy policy

what is a privacy policy - One of the main reasons a website needs a privacy policy page is to disclose the owner's intent. People have a right to know what information is being traced behind the scenes, and what the owner plans to do with that private information. For example, does the site owner collect IP addresses to establish a database of user habits to sell to other organizations? Does the site owner request addresses with the express purpose of selling the list, or are the email address provided for a legitimate purpose, such as sending existing customers relevant information about product issues and upgrades?


Policy statement pages are particularly useful and are actually required by law in many jurisdictions for sites that operate businesses for catalogs and online shopping. Users must be made aware that when they purchase goods and services, that their purchases are conducted in a secure and safe environment. Further, they must be assured that their personal data such as home addresses, telephone numbers, and credit card information will not be used in any way other than to ship goods and bill for the products. Companies are not permitted to sell private information and must always disclose any mailing lists upon which customers will be placed as a result of purchasing.


Another reason for a policy statement is to notify users that some pages may take them away from the existing website. If users choose to follow links to other resources or to outside sales pages, then they must understand that the privacy policy from the original site is no longer in force, and that they should read the terms of use of the website where they landed. In addition, users should know that any banners or third party advertisements will take them away from the originating site.


Today, one of the biggest reasons for a policy statement is to acknowledge to users the fact that either the website owner or third party advertisers may drop cookies, which may track information about the users' online habits. For many online businesses, cookies serve a legitimate purpose in that they save users time from logging into sites every time they visit them, and cookies allow information about their accounts to be stored for easy access. But, some advertising companies want to know more about the users. Either way, the use of cookies must be disclosed and the reason for the cookies must be apparent.


Finally, policy statements are mandated by some companies with which the website owner does business. Because privacy is a sensitive issue for many people, often companies will not do business with those that try to hide behind the cloak of the internet. Examples are affiliate programs. The program managers want to be sure that the affiliates are doing business in an open and honest environment. They do not want their customers deceived, and they do not want their reputations degraded. In order for affiliates to participate in certain programs, they must be upfront about the third party ads and the possible existence of cookies. They must explain that the cookies may track web traffic in an attempt to offer targeted advertisements to certain individuals. As a result, the users must have the option to decline the use of cookies, and may opt out of the activity altogether.


The privacy policy page is really about keeping web businesses honest. It is transparency in the possible collection of personal data, and shows that the owner respects the customers and users. For companies that offer large catalogs of products, their policy statements can be very long, extending into many pages in some circumstances. But, regardless of the size of the business, it is just plain, common courtesy to let users know what is being done with their information.

Please complete the form below if you need a privacy policy made for your sites users.

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