How to Assess A Privacy Policy

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 24, 2008

If you are not sure what a privacy policy is then you need to first be ware of the fact that a privacy policy is something that is put out by a company to ensure that your private information is being protected. Basically what a privacy policy does is tell you, the customer, that the company is going to be collecting certain information from you that you might or might not consider private. But in addition to telling you that they are going to be collecting information from you, the privacy policy also needs to consist of some other basic elements. If the privacy policy is lacking any of these basic elements then you need to be aware of the fact that you can be putting yourself at risk if you decide to give them your information anyway.

Here are some of the basic things that you are going to want to know about privacy policies to ensure that the privacy policy is not lacking anything important, which would put you at risk.

Number One:

The first thing that you are going to want to know about privacy policies is that one of the main purposes of these policies is to notify you as a customer that they are going to be collecting information from you. In fact this should be covered in the very beginning of the privacy policy. Basically this section is going to tell you what kind of information they are going to collect, not to mention that this section is going to be giving you notice that they are going to be collecting information. The company is telling you that certain private information is going to be collected from you if you are going to be using their website or joining their website. But not only do they need to tell you the customer that they are collecting personal information about you, but they also need to tell you what kind of personal information they are going to be collecting.

Number Two:

Something else that you need to know about privacy policies is that they are also going to need to tell you what is going to be done with the information that you are giving the company. This means that the company has to tell the customers what is going to happen with the information that has been given to the company. One thing that you need to think about is that often times companies will give out your information to third parties or they will sell your information for advertising purposes, but in order for them to do this it needs to be included in the privacy policy. So what you want to look for is any clause that states they are going to give out your information.

Number Three:

You also need to see if the privacy policy is going to give you a choice as to how your information can be used. The reason for this is that many websites do allow information to be given to third parties for advertising purposes, but not all customers want to receive numerous advertisements in their inbox. In fact, a lot of people actually consider that to be spam. By giving you a choice, the company is allowing you to decide how your information is going to be used that they have collected. For example some websites will sell your information to third parties for advertising purposes, but now in order for them to do that they have to get your permission. One thing you need to keep in mind is that this permission is usually given to them by the checking of a box and some companies will even have that box already checked so you want to pay close attention.

Number Four:

Another thing that you need to know about privacy policies is all privacy policies need to tell you what kind of enforcement they are going to use. This means they are going to tell you what can happen if your information is not used the way it is supposed to be used. The privacy policy will also tell you what the company is going to do to make sure that your information is only used the way that you agree for it to be used.

Something else that you need to keep in mind is that these things are usually broken down into sections. So to make it easier to understand you want to see if the privacy policy has the following sections: Notice, Choice, Security, and Enforcement.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How to Assess A Privacy Policy." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 24 Feb. 2008. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/345/how-to-assess-a-privacy-policy/ >.