What is a privacy policy?

A privacy policy is a document that states what personal data you collect from your users, why, and how you keep it private.

The purpose of the privacy policy is to inform your users about how their data is being handled.

Hence, the privacy policy should be accessible for your users and kept in a plain and readable language.

Most countries have privacy laws requiring that websites collecting personal data have a proper privacy policy in place.

Failure to comply can result in heavy fines and even prosecution.

What is personal data?

Personal data is information that can identify an individual, either directly or when combined with other data.

Names, e-mails, addresses, localisation, IP-addresses, photos, and account information all are directly identifying data.

Health information, income, religion and cultural profiles and the like is also personal data.

Furthermore, and crucial in the present context, data on user behaviour is also personal. Cookies can track and register individual users’ browsing activities, like what articles they scroll past and which ones they choose to click on.

Do I need a privacy policy for my website?

You probably do. If your website collects personal data, you need a privacy policy.

Most websites collect user data. Often, it happens without the website owner even being aware of it, by means of cookies.

If your website is hosted, or if you use plugins, social media-buttons, analytics tools and the like on your website, then it does set cookies and collect user data.

With the enforcement of the GDPR and the EU ePrivacy regulation, a proper privacy policy is adamant for websites in the EU and websites that have EU-citizens amongst their users.

If you are in doubt about the use of cookies on your website, you can try and take an audit of your website here for free.

The free audit scans five pages of your website and sends you a report of the cookies and online tracking on these pages, including information on their provenance, purpose and whether or not they are compliant.

If you want a complete overview of the cookies and online tracking going on on all of your website, sign up to the Cookiebot solution.

How can I get a privacy policy on my website?

The privacy policy can be written as an independent page on your website, and be made accessible as a link in the header or footer of your website, or on your ‘About’ page.

It may also be hosted by a privacy policy-service with a link from your homepage.

Basically, it doesn’t matter where you choose to place it, as long as your users have access to it.

The privacy policy is a legal text. The phrasing depends on which jurisdictions your website falls under and how your website handles data.

All websites are different. We always recommend that you consult a lawyer to ensure that your privacy policy is compliant with all applicable laws.

However, this might seem as a large expense if you are, for instance, a hobby blogger or small business.

What you should never do, is to copy a privacy policy from some other website.

GDPR compliant privacy policy templates, samples & generators

There exists numerous tools for creating privacy policies, and privacy policy templates and generators on the internet.

Some are free and others come at a price.


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