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Privacy Policy Law - Your Questions Answered

Digital
Brand
4mins read

Whether you're looking into a privacy policy for your very first website or are expanding internationally and are looking into the privacy policy within the country you're hoping to target, we've answered some of your most common questions.

Please be aware that this information is for guidance purposes only and should not be constituted as legal advice. You should follow up with your legal adviser for more in-depth details surrounding your specific situation.

What constitutes personal information?

The Information Commissioner's Office states that personal data relates to information that can be used to identify someone directly or indirectly. UK GDPR states that this covers names, ID numbers, online identifiers, and location data, although this is not exhaustive.

It’s fair to assume that email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, and handles for social networking profiles will all be considered to be online identifiers. 

Some privacy laws also include the use of browser cookies and could extend to IP addresses. Hence, you must understand what is expected of you to create a valid privacy policy.

Why is privacy so important?

You've probably heard the phrase 'data is more valuable than oil or gold'. Digitally speaking, there are so many ways you can use someone's personal information to entice them to perform a specific action - like buy one of your products. 

Scandals such as Cambridge Analytica showcase why it's so important to respect the privacy of anyone willing to share personal information with you. When someone hands over their data, they are essentially saying - I trust you. If you breach that trust, even just once, not only will you be liable for legal action, but your brand reputation will most likely be damaged irrevocably. 

What do privacy laws protect?

Privacy laws will vary from country to country; however, they will operate to protect the person whose personal information is being taken and used. You can find more information on privacy laws by country here.

Is a privacy policy legally required?

In a word, yes. And the laws that regulate privacy policies will differ from country to country. So, for example, in the UK, you must abide by the General Data Protection Regulation. If you target an audience in Canada, you have to operate under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The EU has the Cookies Directive and so on.

Can I copy a privacy policy?

Some web platforms offer privacy policy plugins, or you may have access to a general template that you may think covers you legally. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case. Your policy needs to reflect your policies and reflect the data protection laws in place in the country you are operating in. If the template or plugin you were hoping to use doesn't do this, you may not be covered legally.

Where can I get a privacy policy?

There are tons of privacy policy generators available online; however, we do advise that you remain cautious about these unless they are customisable and cover the law in the country you're looking to expand into. 

Instead, we recommend speaking to a legal professional and either commissioning them to create your privacy policy or, if they don't specialise in this area, ask for a company recommendation that can provide this service. 

What happens if you don’t have a privacy policy?

In addition to butchering your brand trust and reputation, if you breach your privacy policy, or if it doesn't cover the laws in the country you're operating in, you can have legal action brought against you from the Government or your online visitors, have to pay a considerable fine or be incarcerated. All in all, it's really not worth taking the risk; invest in a quality privacy policy.

Jublo provides digital marketing consultancy services that can help you successfully branch out into your target market. Whether this is your first website looking at a UK audience, or you’re ready to branch out overseas, get in touch with us for help and advice.

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