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Insights

Why have a website privacy policy?

Posted on 09th June 2015 in Intellectual Property

Posted by

Jill Headford

Partner and Solicitor
Why have a website privacy policy?

Website privacy policies are often ignored or copied from a competitor.  This approach fails to recognise the value that a privacy policy can have to a business as well as the huge risk of failing to comply with data protection legislation.

The most common mistakes

  • Using a privacy policy copied and pasted from a competitor. It is vital to craft a policy that works for your business. Most standard policies and those of your competitors will not be tailored to your purposes and might leave your business exposed.
  • Not including enough detail. Some privacy policies don’t go into specifics about what data is collected and the data will be used for. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires users to give informed consent which means they must be told what their information will be used for.
  • Going too far. Users cannot be expected to consent to unlimited use of their personal information. Policies that try this are unenforceable and could be contrary to the Data Protection Act 1998 which could result in fines.

Benefits of a privacy policy

  • Avoid being fined. Data protection legislation requires consent from users before using their personal information. Breach of this requirement can result in the regulator imposing penalties on website owners.
  • Create a valuable database of potential customers. Obtaining website users consent gives you the right to use consumer information for marketing purposes.
  • Make your business easier to sell. Obtaining consent gives you evidence to satisfy purchasers of the business that it can use the data it needs.

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