What is a Privacy Policy? (IT)

A privacy policy on your website is a legal document informing users about how you collect and handle their personal data, who you share it with, if you sell it, and any other relevant details.

Why You Need a Privacy Policy

Almost every business that collects data through a website, mobile app, or desktop app must publish a privacy policy due to one or all of the following:

Privacy Policies are Required by Law

Privacy laws vary around the globe, and your website or app must abide by the regulations based on the location of your business, your targeted audience, and where you conduct business.

As data collection and processing becomes more ubiquitous across the internet, privacy laws in the US and around the world set strict requirements for privacy policies.

The following laws impact if and when you legally need a privacy policy page for your website or app:

The General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR regulates privacy policy requirements for entities targeting users in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), regardless of the company’s physical location.

Your business must comply with the GDPR if it targets EU consumers and meets one of the following thresholds:

Chapter 3, Articles 13 and 14 of the law clarify that users have the right to be fully informed about the collection and use of their personal data.

Linking to a generic privacy policy is not enough under the GDPR; you also need freely given consent from users before collecting their personal information. Under the law, personal data refers to any information relating to an identifiable person, either directly or indirectly.

It’s important to note that different privacy laws use unique definitions for personal information, each with slight variations in meaning.

Your business can communicate all relevant data gathering and processing information in compliance with the GDPR and request user consent by publishing a privacy policy on your website.

The penalties for GDPR non-compliance are fines of up to 4% of your annual global turnover or €24 million ($23 million), whatever is highest.

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)

The CCPA regulates privacy policy requirements for businesses targeting users in California, regardless of the company’s physical location.

Under the law,  you must inform users about the personal data you collect and how it’s processed.

The text of the CCPA defines personal data similarly to the GDPR but excludes publicly available information, like social media posts.

You must also provide a way for consumers to opt out of the sale of their data.

To comply with the CCPA, you can outline your data practices with our standard privacy policy template and include a conspicuous “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link.

The penalties for CCPA non-compliance are fines of $2,5000 per violation or $7,500 per intentional violation.