Privacy Policy

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Every website based in the United States and certain other countries around the world has a privacy policy. Before you can join a website, you are encouraged to read the privacy policy. The moment you land on a website, you agree to its privacy policy and there must be a prominent link you can use to read that privacy policy. But what is a privacy policy and what kind of information does it contain?

The Basics Of A Privacy Policy

A privacy policy serves two basic purposes. It explains what type of information the website will collect, and then it explains what is done with the information. A privacy policy is very specific when listing the exact information a website collects. This includes names, email addresses, payment information, IP addresses and any data that is collected in an order form. If any of that data is made available to third-party marketing companies, that information must be revealed in the privacy policy.

Is A Privacy Policy Legally Binding?

In the United States, a privacy policy is not necessarily a legally binding agreement. If you find out that a company said in its privacy policy that it does not sell user data but then did sell your email address to a third-party marketing company, then you can try to sue but you should not expect great results. The one benefit to a privacy policy is that it does give you a comprehensive listing of the information that is collected when you visit the site.

International Laws

In 2017, there was a significant movement to start protecting personal data on the Internet more closely. The CEOs of the larger American social media platforms were called to testify before Congress, and the European Union rolled out a series of new rules that went into effect in 2018. Any website that takes user traffic from the European Union must add the new privacy provisions to its privacy policy. It is said that the European countries intend to become more diligent when it comes to protecting user data.

As of 2018, the United States has not made any sweeping changes to the way that websites collect data. However, the larger social media platforms are starting to become more diligent in protecting user data. The privacy policy of a website outlines the details of what kind of data that website collects, but it does not offer any real recourse if the website misappropriates the data.