What Are the Legalities of Privacy Policies?

The legalities of privacy policies are specific in protecting the personal information for consumers and website visitors. We are certain that everyone has had the occasion to sign off on a privacy policy at one time or another. Maybe the first time was a HIPAA statement for a medical doctor. After the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) became law, the HIPAA statements became required to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

As the internet has become an integral part of our lives, the public demand for businesses and ecommerce to have written privacy policies has become essential. These notifications are now critically important standards in protecting individuals’ personal information. Internet hackers are increasingly sophisticated in breaking into personal information to use in heinous activities such as identity theft. As a result, businesses must be more transparent in their collection, use, and disposal of data.

If you have a business or website that requires a privacy policy, ensure that your policy complies with the legal requirements. In this article, we will explain what a privacy policy is and the legalities of these policies.

What is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a legal notice that discloses how a business collects, uses, handles, and disposes of its users’ personal data. A privacy policy provides information and transparency. Other information provided in the policy statement is the types of data gathered, who it is shared with, and whether users are able to review their information and request changes to that data. If your business collects personal information from website visitors, it is mandated that you have a privacy policy and it needs to be prominently displayed.

Consumer Protection

Due to the rapid growth and changes in information technology, the risks of abuse have increased. This has led to legislation and regulations that provide safeguards in protecting consumers. A privacy policy is mandated if a business collects data that can be used to identify an individual.

Reasons Why A Business or Website Needs a Privacy Policy

There are two main reasons why a business or website needs a privacy policy:

  • They are legally required by global privacy laws if you collect or use personal information.
  • Consumers expect a business or website to have them.

Examples of Personal Data

Here are some examples of information that is considered personal to the extent that it can identify an individual:

  • Email addresses
  • First and last names
  • Shipping and/or billing addresses
  • Social security numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Bank details
  • Social media handles and profile images

Other data that may seem to be anonymous can also be classified as “personally identifiable information” when used in connection with another type of data that identifies an individual. For example, some types of IP addresses are legally protected personal information under privacy laws.

Laws Regarding Privacy in the United States

In the U.S., federal and state laws have provisions on data privacy. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulates the protection of data for all consumers in the U.S. The following laws also have privacy protections:

  • The Americans with Disability Act
  • The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984
  • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986
  • The Computer Security Act of 1997
  • The Consumer Credit Reporting Control Act
  • The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
  • The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

Speak to One of Our Experienced Business Lawyers

At The Doyle Law Offices, P.A., we are experienced business lawyers who can help with business law issues for small businesses, family companies, partnerships, LLCs, sole proprietors and established corporations. Contact us today by calling (919) 228-4487 or complete the form below to schedule an appointment.

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