Privacy policies are not really a publishing law topic but it is something every writer should consider.
What qualifies as personal information?
The type of data considered personal information varies from state to state. Usually, the term is defined as including: names, USPS mail addresses, email addresses, IP addresses, browser cookies, phone numbers, user IDs, passwords, credit card information, financial data, photographs, and social security numbers. Basically, personal information is anything that would help identify a user of your website. This does not mean that all the data collected from users of your website qualifies as personal information. However, do not assume anonymous data like navigation history and the type of data collected by Google Analytics is not considered personal. Often, such data when used in connection with other data can be tracked back to an individual, thus it may be considered personal information.
- what type of data your website collects from a user–names, addresses, credit card numbers, phone numbers, etc.;
- why the data is being collected;
- what you intend to do with the data collected (how it is used, how it is shared); and
- provide assurances that users’ personal data remains secure.
Of course, personal data changes or users sometimes make mistakes when entering their personal data on-line. Provide a means for users to see the personal data your website has collected, as well as a means for correcting any errors or changes. For example, a Sidebar Saturdays’ user can send us an email to correct errors or make changes. Also, the sign-up process provides a notice to the user about what information we collected, what to do in case of errors, and how to access it for changes.
Provide users the ability to opt-out of giving certain information if possible. Also, always have the ability to unsubscribe or delete their information if so desired.
Legal Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes only. Consult a qualified lawyer in your jurisdiction for all legal opinions for your specific situation. See the disclaimer link in the footer of our website for more information.