Even if they don’t read it (and most won’t), your visitors and you are still bound by it. Not having one opens you up to legal troubles. Not the least of which is thousands of dollars in fines. Beginning in 2020, legislation called the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is even more strict than GDPR in terms of both requirements and penalty, so tightening up your legalese should be at the top of your to-do list if you haven’t tidied it up in a while.
- how you collect information
- what you do with collected information
- what cookies, pixels, and other trackers your site uses and their purpose
- any advertising networks and their methods/purpose of data collection and ad delivery
- how your users can opt-in and opt-out of you collecting and storing their data
- how your users can request that you delete and/or turn their data be over to them
- contact information for site administrators
These are the standard issues that make up most privacy policies. Ideally, visitors would take a look at your policy and decide if they’re comfortable using your services. More realistically, it covers you legally because the majority of people click agree without even glancing at it. In case someone ever comes back with a dispute about how you used their information or data, you have a document indicating that they opted in for that usage.
What Do You Do with User Data?
Here’s the real kicker: what you do with the data is just as important to disclose as that you collect it. Why? Data is big business. It’s really the business. Billions of dollars flow through the data industry each year. Many, many, man sites sell or share their user data. Others, more ethically, use the collected data to personalize content and ads and other, similar applications.
One use of using a user’s data is us. If your Elegant Themes yearly subscription is about to expire, we send you an email reminder. In this case, we’re using your personal information to provide an update. We have the date on which you became a member, your name, and your email address. We use that to personalize our service to you.
In any case, if you’re not comfortable with the way a website uses your information, the GDPR outlines the ‘right to be forgotten‘. This means sites are bound by law to delete your information if you ask them to.
That’s why various services have sprung up over the years to generate boilerplate (but customizable) privacy policies for your websites. We’re going to touch on a few of them so that you can know that you’re in the right hands in letting your visitors know that they are, too.
Knowing fully how ridiculous their name is and leaning into it, Termageddon is a top-notch service that generates automatically updating privacy policies. Any time new laws are passed that affect privacy data, Termageddon updates your embedded policy to reflect them. So when CCPA went into effect, Termageddon updated from just GDPR regulations. Setting it up is as simple as answering questions about your business or website. Then you paste an embed code into the page where it will live. You can override any updates or changes, and you can edit the policy manually, too. If you handle a lot of user data, then this is $10 a month well spent.
Price: $10 per month/ $99 per year | More information
TermsFeed enables you to generate basic privacy policies in minutes. You can easily customize them using your site’s information. Each time you want to create a new policy, the service will walk you through a questionnaire to help you determine the clauses you need. When the process is over, you’ll receive your new policy via email. The turnaround is pretty quick. That way, you can paste it into your website and have it live for your visitors immediately. The platform also offers you the option of updating your policies automatically as laws change.
Plus, if you want more personalized customization, you can download various templates for terms of service and so on that you can edit and fill out on your own. Like Termageddon above, TermsFeed is not just for WordPress sites, and their privacy policies integrate into everything from iOS apps, SaaS platforms, and desktop applications that need permissions to run locally on your clients’ machines.
Price: Free and paid plans available | More Information
Price: free | More information
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