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This article is to be used for information purposes only and not specific legal advice. Please seek legal help to see how regulations specifically apply to you.
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Just because your website is small, doesn’t mean you are exempt or can fly under the radar. It only takes one complaint to launch a full investigation.
Privacy Laws are now applicable in many areas including:
- The United States
- Other countries
While the United States doesn’t have one blanket law regarding privacy statements, individual states such as California do. In addition, there are many FTC regulations that include privacy regulations.
Do not, under any circumstances, use a template generator without editing it to explicitly explain how you use their data. Go through them line by line and edit to explain completely how you collect and use data.
Collecting and Using Personal Information
Identifying information that would be considered personal information could be their name, email, IP address, birth date, address and so forth.
In order to protect yourself today, it’s a good idea to have a privacy statement on your website as well as an “I Accept Cookies” disclosure wherever applicable by law.
Examples of Collecting Data
Here are just a few examples of how you might be collecting data and not realize it.
- If you use Google Analytics or any other analytics software
- If you use forms on your website
- Any type of forced registration
- If you are using cookies
- If you have a “log-in using Google or Facebook”
- If you have a chat tool such as Livechat
- If you are using a ChatBot
- If you offer lead magnets
- If you use 3rd party tools, integrations, plugins
- If your website offers push notifications
- Social Share Buttons
If you are using third-party integrations or apps that collect data, they too are part of your requirements to disclose.
A cookie is a file. It is placed and stored on a web visitor’s (user) website using bytes of data. This file stores the user’s browsing history and preferences in some sort of way. These are most often used to personalize the user experience, collect info for marketing purposes, and to be able to cultivate the user in the form of email, text, social media, and retargeting.
If you are using cookies, you need to disclose this and give the visitor the option to opt-out and delete their data. While some laws simply say “disclose” others go further. It’s best to cover them all. After all, your website is an asset. You don’t want to be held liable or be vulnerable to fines or worse.
If you are using WordPress, there are simple plugins. You can also add a piece of code to the header/foot scripts. Termsfeed allows you to create the disclaimer using their wizard and then add the code to an area of your website that will appear on every page. This is usually a header or footer widget or script.
Options to Notify Your Users with a Cookie Disclosure
- In Your Footer
- In Your Header
- In Your Top Header
- In Your Menu
- As a Box Notification, pop up, slide in, or bar