Understanding The Importance Of Privacy Policies


by Barbara J. Feldman on February 19, 2008

If you have ever joined a website or bought anything online you have probably been asked to agree to the terms of use and to read and agree with the privacy policy. But even though these warnings are on virtually ever website that you are going to visit the problem that many of us face is that we have never actually gone and read the agreement or the privacy policy. We usually just check the box and continue on with what we are doing. But basically what happens when we check that box is that we never really understand what we are checking and the reason for that is that we don’t ever take the time to read what the privacy policy consists of. When we check the box we may have no idea, let alone any understanding of what the privacy policy is or what it actually means. In fact because most people don’t read the privacy policies on the various websites that they visit they never have any idea what is going to happen with the information they submit to the website. And if you don’t take the time to read the privacy policy then if your information is used in a way that you don’t agree with you might be fighting a losing battle.

But in addition to not understanding the privacy policy many people don’t seem to understand that the privacy policy in general is an important document. The reason that this document is so important is because it is being used to protect us as customers, but it is also important to the companies as well. Another reason why the document is so important is that their isn’t very many laws that deal with our personal information and how it should be protected, in fact the only laws that deal with this are common laws and those can actually vary from state to state and to the federal government. So basically the privacy policy from the company is the only way we can be guaranteed that our information is being protected.

One of the most important things about privacy policies on various websites is that the policies are written to inform the people using the website how that company or website is going to protect the users’ privacy. Many people are concerned about entering in their personal information on websites because they are afraid that their private information is going to be given to third parties or even worse that the website is not going to protect their payment information, including but not limited to credit card numbers, and that this information is going to get out and then the users’ can become victim’s of identity theft. So as a user of a website it is important that you have a basic understanding of a privacy policy, this way you know what it is supposed to do and what it isn’t supposed to do.

As a company it is important that you understand privacy policies as well so that you can create a great privacy policy that your customer’s are going to feel comfortable with. Basically when it comes to creating a privacy policy you are going to want to create a policy that encourages trust between your website and the people who visit your website. If they feel comfortable and confident in your privacy policy then they are going to be more likely to do business with your company.

But regardless of if you are using the privacy policy or if you are creating the privacy policy you need to know that a privacy policy is designed to protect your personal information that is being entered on the computer. Basically the privacy policy is going to tell the user how their information is being collected and how you as a company are going to use or even how the information will not be used. And then as a business you are going to be responsible for making sure that you follow what your privacy policy says and as a customer you can hold a company liable for what they state in their privacy policy.


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