The Importance of Data Privacy
Wherever you go on the web, someone is collecting information from you. This includes everything from your behavior on websites to your browser details to where in the world you are. Consumer advocates were rightfully concerned about what could be done with this data. Most users don’t even realize how much of their personal information is revealed as they browse the web, making data privacy all the more crucial.
At a minimum, privacy policies should include the above disclosures along with a clear explanation of the site’s owner (your business). You should also explain how you’ll implement, change, and update the policy. However, we do NOT recommend that you stick to the minimum, simply because you may be subject to various regulations depending on your business and customers. Read on to learn more.
Understanding Privacy Requirements
It’s a common misconception that your business is only subject to the laws and regulations of your country or state. In fact, your users determine which privacy requirements apply to your business. CalOPPA comes into effect for any business with a consumer residing in California who access their website. That means that even if most of your customers are in the U.K., a single California customer requires your business to comply with CalOPPA requirements.
Similarly, the GDPR protects all users located in the European Union. Given the size of this region, it’s a safe bet that your website will be accessed there, which means that your data privacy plan should comply with the GDPR. This regulation also requires that you disclose any third parties who access the data you collect. Any app, widget, or social media integration falls under this category.
In many situations, GDPR requires organizations to obtain consent before collecting any personally identifiable information. This is why you often see website pop-ups asking you to accept cookies.
If you are found to be non-compliant, you may face hefty fines, legal action, or exclusion from certain tools (e.g., Google Ads requires your site to comply). When you take all these regulations together, there are quite a few points to check.
It’s worth noting that even mega-companies such as Facebook have been fined for failing to disclose how they used their customers’ data. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission takes consumer protection very seriously. No one is immune to these regulations.