The online regulatory environment is getting more and more complicated. Combine that with the laws and policies concerning privacy policies, and you’ll surely find it even more challenging to comprehend.
It is necessary to abide by these rules, as these have legal implications on your business operations and its image, let alone hefty penalties that may be imposed on you for non-compliance.
To help you get an idea of the common mistakes that businesses and individuals make when it comes to online privacy policies, we have prepared a list for you. Here are some of the things you should avoid when dealing with privacy policies.
Table of contents
- Using a generic template
- Missing required clauses
- Not complying by the legal requirements
- Not making privacy policies visible
- Not getting a clear consent
- Not staying up-to-date as laws and regulations change
People are getting increasingly protective about their privacy, and this is even more so the case online. They do not want to have their information exploited for the gain of corporations (or anyone else for that matter), and they want to protect their movements and online footprint as much as possible.
Privacy policies should be contextual. It should depend on your business and its structure. It should likewise directly address your clients and the way they interact and engage with you in your online platform.
3. Using a generic template
Always use privacy policies that are tailor-fitted to the way your business works. That way, you avoid facing legal issues from sections that are too broad or too vague to be applied to your company.
4. Missing required clauses
The internet covers a lot of ground these days and people from all over the world across ages will be able to visit your website. Make sure to comply with privacy laws that have extensive coverage like GDPR, CCPA, COPPA, and CALOPPA.
GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation)
This statute seeks to create a stronger and more robust privacy network across Europe. It serves as a de-facto global regulator for online privacy. Its goal is to give users more control over how their data are used. It also makes it harder for companies to use vague provisions in privacy policies to rationalize the improper use of private data.
CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)
COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule)
CalOPPA (California Online Privacy Protection Act)
It covers a set of regulations that businesses should enforce when it comes to online privacy policies in California. CalOPPA applies to companies that collect personal regulation from residents of California, regardless of where that business is based. These are some of the most basic regulations of CalOPPA:
- Notifying users about the information you collect from them,
- Informing users about third-party data sharing,
- Providing users with the chance to review or change their personal information, and
5. Not complying by the legal requirements
It couldn’t be stressed enough - privacy policies exist to protect users from businesses that want to exploit their data. In turn, they give businesses legal support when it comes to utilizing their users’ information.
It is a two-way street that seeks to balance business and consumer information rights online, which means that it should be upheld as much as possible.
If your business fails to comply with the legal requirements set by online privacy laws, you might face serious legal issues.
In the last few years, enforcement actions from governing bodies have resulted in millions of dollars in settlement from companies that have failed to follow their own privacy policies.
These companies were labeled as deceptive, and they have shown to have performed unfair trade practices and carelessness because of the way they handled sensitive client information.
You should endeavor to avoid such allegations to prevent legal issues, and in turn, dodge settlements that can put you in financial turmoil.
8. Not making privacy policies visible
What most websites do is they put their privacy policies in the footer or sidebar of their website, besides the terms & conditions and cookies policy. This way, all legal pages are grouped and easy to find.
9. Not getting a clear consent
Privacy policies are effective when your site visitors and customers at least read their most essential parts and consent to the terms and rules laid down for them. As mentioned, there’s implied consent when it comes to users navigating through websites. The fact that they are using it indirectly means that they agree with your terms.
However, this notion needs to be elevated. That is the reason why GDPR has a higher standard for consent when it comes to privacy policies. You have to ask for consent regarding the use of their data, make them understand the implications of their consent, and ask them to choose between letting your use their data or not.
While this does not apply to all websites, it is still a good practice to implement. It strengthens your relationship with your clients. It also makes them see that you do not just value them for the traffic and information they create, but also for the support and participation they bring to your webpage.
10. Not staying up-to-date as laws and regulations change
Being transparent about these changes lets your site visitors know that you value them and you want them to understand their rights as online entities. It makes your business look trust-worthy – reliable enough to handle sensitive private information.
Now that we’ve laid down some of the most basic mistakes when it comes to privacy policies, you should make sure that you avoid these as much as possible. There are numerous benefits to being compliant with the rules that online regulatory bodies set.
- Updated on January 22, 2020