Did you know? By merely browsing a website on the internet, you have actually agreed to the website’s terms and conditions and privacy policy? Now that you are anyway bound by it by merely browsing the website, it would be best if you could actually go through it just to know the way in which your personal information which you may provide is going to be used. Just think about it. Okay other than our names I think everything else that we fill in on a standard log in form involves us disclosing our mobile phone numbers, card details, and addresses etc. I would definitely want to know how this information is being used by the website owners.

Why have a privacy policy?

While most of us are guilty of not reading it in full, I think merely knowing the fact that a privacy policy is in place gives us a sense of security. This in turn helps improve the customer relationship which definitely works in favour of the website. Also, since there is transparency in terms of the users knowing exactly how their information is going to be used, I think is a this an effective way for the website owners to stay connected with the users.

From the perspective of the website owner, it is one of the best ways to monetize your database if there are proper disclosures included in the privacy policy i.e. the website owner can use the user data for marketing through e-mails, telemarketing etc. to the end users which is obviously beneficial to you. On the other hand, if you do not properly inform the way in which you intend to use the data, you might be in the soup later on if you send out marketing emails.

Most of the websites owners mistakenly think that if they are not collecting any information, they don’t need to put up privacy policies on their website. These days, it is still advisable to put up a privacy policy even if it is to merely inform the users that no personal information is collected by the website so if the users receive any email in the name of the website, they should not give away any details.

Creating a privacy policy

Simply copying and pasting some other website’s privacy policy will not help if you are a service listing website and you copy the privacy policy of a product listing website. Without complicating it further, let’s just say, it is best to craft your own privacy policy to make sure you cover all the essential elements of your own business. The most important thing to be kept in mind is that these terms are going to be read by laymen and using legal jargon wouldn’t be the best thing to do.

So if you are creating your privacy policy, this is what you need to keep in mind;

  • The effective date of the privacy policy;
  • Briefly mention the functions of your website services;
  • Information you collect like name, phone number, address etc.
  • The way in which you intend to use the information;
  • The way in which you store the information;
  • With whom will the information be shared;
  • Whether you are going to collect automatic information etc.

So for all those who wonder how advertisement of the product that you’ve just checked out or ads of the same website and their “similar products” just pop up while you are on another website which has nothing to do with shopping or flight fares; well, it is because by having accessed the website, you have agreed to the “Cookies” which in a way personalizes your shopping experience unless you disable them. Last but not the least, do not forget to keep updating your privacy policy from time to time to make sure you incorporate all the latest changes you’ve made in your business.

This article has been authored by Durga Bhatt, an IP Law practitioner.