All around the world, governments have established various far-reaching laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the USA’s California Online Privacy Protection Act. They aim to require web owners and businesses to be fully transparent about the data they collect and what they plan to do with it.
You may think that these laws may not affect you if you don’t live in those regions, but this is where you’re mistaken as these laws reach far beyond their respective countries. If your website caters to users in those locations, it’s highly likely that these laws also apply to your domain.
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Some of the private information that most websites collect are names, emails, addresses, phone numbers, and other forms of identification.
A list of the types of information your website collects from its visitors
You should be able to list down all the types of information that you will collect from your website visitors. As mentioned, these include the names, email addresses, and other information that your audience may leave behind when they visit your webpage.
In the case of WordPress, there are several ways in which it can collect information from its users. These include Google Analytics, contact forms, WordPress comments, and advertisements. All of these collect private information of web users for different purposes.
The purpose of the data collection
You should also let your visitors know the reason you’re collecting their private information. For example, Google Analytics collects personal information like user IDs, IP addresses, and cookies to profile the behavior of website visitors.
Similarly, Google AdSense collects cookies for your audience’s behavioral information so that they can share it with their advertising partners for better targeting.
As long as you collect their information for whatever valid purpose, you must explain why you collect it to promote fairness, transparency, and respect for their privacy.
Storage, access, and security of private information
Since you’re collecting private information from your website visitors, you should make sure that the way you store their data is safe, secure, and can only be accessed by the necessary individuals.
Don’t forget that what you’re dealing with might be sensitive information. Your audiences’ full names, birthdays, and addresses may open gateways to even more private accounts like banks, work or school information, and the like.
You should do everything you can to make sure that their data remains secure. Finally, you should also let your audience know exactly how you plan to take care of their data.
Affiliated third-party websites or organizations
You are required by law to do so by law
Regardless of where you live, it’s highly likely that your local government already set up a data privacy act. It’s to ensure that local websites are not exploiting the private information of its users.
However, apart from local laws, there are far-reaching laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the USA’s California Online Privacy Protection Act that cover even website owners from different countries.
They require that you meet certain criteria in connection with the collection of sensitive private information of their citizens.
For instance, even if you live in Singapore and host your website there, as long as your audience includes people from the European Union or California, you are bound by the data privacy laws that govern their land.
Non-compliance with such laws can be costly. For the General Data Protection Regulation, violators may be fined with up to 4% of the company’s annual turnover in the preceding year or 20 million Euros, whichever is higher.
For the California Online Privacy Protection Act, you can be fined thousands of dollars per violation. In other words, it could multiply depend on how many Californian site visitors you have.
If you’re serious about your WordPress website and want it to eventually grow, you will need third-party applications and websites to enhance your data gathering and analytics.
It shows that you care about your users' privacy and data security
Regardless of how incredible your website is, it wouldn’t do you any good if you have no constant stream of visitors coming in and out daily. Users are more conscious of their data and privacy. They would rather go to alternative websites than have their data compromised.
While it's definitely helpful for beginners who have no clue where to start, it shouldn't be used for anything other than a very simple blog or "about me" type of website. It's just too simplistic and doesn't cover many of the important topics you would want to have.
1. Go to Settings and select Privacy from the WordPress administration panel.
So don't wait until it's too late and you get fined for non-compliance or experience services interruptions with any of the third-party services providers you may be using. Create it today and avoid all of the unwanted issues.
- Updated on October 13, 2020