Oops. I didn’t have one.
If you’re like me, you may be collecting personal information without even thinking about it. Got a newsletter? Then you’re collecting names and email addresses. Send out postcards or other physical goods? Then you’ve got shipping information. Selling goods or services? Then you (or someone operating for you) got their credit card info.
Even if you’re collecting anonymous data for site analytics, visitor tracking, or targeted advertising, when that’s connected with other data such as IP or mailing address, you’ve got more data on that person than you might think.
- It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.
- You promised.
- It’s not just the law. It’s a good idea.
Let’s go through them one by one.
The USA doesn’t have the GDPR, but we have our own requirements, set by the Federal Trade Commission and other governing bodies.
There are several laws, including federal and state laws, that have provisions on data privacy. The FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, regulates data protection on all consumers in the USA.
- The Americans with Disability Act
- The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984
- The Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2001 (updated in 2013)
- The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986
- The Computer Security Act of 1997
- The Consumer Credit Reporting Control Act
- And others
Privacy Policies are Mandatory by Law, TermsFeed
Third-Party Terms and Conditions
The second reason for having a privacy page is that you may have already promised to have one. When you signed up for your email service provider or Google Analytics and others, their terms and conditions called for you to have a privacy page.
The penalty, written in the terms and conditions, can include cutting you off from the service with no recourse.
People Care about Privacy
Convenience vs. privacy. It’s one of our modern dilemmas. That nice cashier who notices that you always buy avocados? Someone else might think she needs to mind her own business.
On the web, it’s just computer programs making it easier for you to do what you want. The features range from showing you advertisements based on your shopping to assuming that if you liked Joanne, you’ll probably like Sally, too, to not asking for your password for that website you signed into a few days ago.
Some people appreciate the convenience; some find the lack of privacy creepy. It doesn’t matter where you stand on that question (although it matters to me). But for your website, the concerns of your clients and web visitors should rule.
The key is transparency. There are so many marketing tools available. Use the ones you want: social media links, pay-per-click ads, remarketing, email list, e-commerce. Just tell people what data you’re collecting and how you intend to use it.
How to Get a Privacy Page for Your Website
Now we come to the hard part. If all you had to do was dash off your thoughts and throw them onto your website, you could create your privacy page in a few minutes.
But it’s a legal document, and that means figuring out what you need to say and how to say it, even getting a lawyer involved.
That’s especially true if you use sophisticated marketing techniques that depend on collecting user data and tracking their behavior on and off your site.
There are workarounds to help you get your privacy page online.
I tried to use the WordPress privacy page generator myself and found myself lost in uncertainty. What counts? What language should I use? Still, the tool may work for you.
It was not free. The price starts at $14 and certain options increase it by a few dollars for each one. The more complicated your marketing, the higher the price. But even so it wasn’t prohibitive. Paying a fee gives me confidence that I’m working with a company that makes this a priority, not just a sideline.
The internet is a strange combination of a big city and a small town, and everybody falls on a different place on the convenience-to-privacy scale.
However you work your marketing, you owe it to your customers and clients to tell them what you do with their data. It’s not just the law. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s also a way to prove your trustworthiness in a world where no one knows you but everyone knows your name.
Don’t have time to set one up for yourself? Call me, and I’ll help you get it on line right away.