Internet Privacy Policy – Does Your Website Have One? Should You?

As technology develops at a lighting pace, it is important that individuals and businesses ensure that they are keeping abreast not only of the technological leaps, but also the resulting legal implications. In recent years, some of the worlds biggest tech companies have paid significant fines for either, intentionally or unintentionally, breaching the privacy of consumers.

Law and technology experts have also been forced into redefining technology law, as new wearable technology, such as Google Glass, is revealed to the public. As soon as the public was made aware of the abilities of this wearable technology, industry experts recognised the possible privacy legal implications that could be affiliated with the technology and are busy exploring the potential damages that could occur by misusing the technology.

Websites are terrific at disseminating information, but they are also an excellent means of collecting information of users. From simple cookies, which collects the basic data of the user and the hardware that they are using, to online forms and surveys which gather other personal detail, there are terabytes of data every minute from internet consumers. But with major implications for privacy breaches, it is important that businesses ensure that they are adequately protected from potential legal issues.

Many website owners are confused as to whether their website requires a privacy policy or not, as there is no clear direction from any one body. The only truly safe way of identifying whether your website, or online business, requires a specific privacy policy is to consult with a legal professional that specialises in technology.

If it is identified that a business needs a privacy policy, then the policy should be available to users on the website. In order to provide maximum protection a specialised technology lawyer should be used to draft the technology in order to protect the business from any potential legal issues in the future. The popular opinion in the community is that only major companies with large and dynamic websites need to take a privacy policy into consideration, but this is a dangerous opinion. As soon as a website, no matter the size, collects personal information about a user on their site, they are under obligation to deal with it appropriately. Additionally, as unscrupulous individuals become ever more adept at utilising the internet as their main tool for identity theft, what business owners may consider a safe network, can be easily taken down, and secure information stolen.

A basic privacy policy for a website will inform what information about users you are collecting, how you are gathering the information, how long you will store the data, when was your privacy policy drafted, any relationships to third-parties that you link to from your site, and how the information will be stored. There is no general privacy policy that fits all businesses, a unique drafted policy needs to be drafted for the unique circumstances of every business.

As breaches of security are becoming more common it is more important than ever that website owners analyse their website, the data that is collects, and the possible implications of a privacy breach.