Tag Archives: privacy policy

Social Media Softwate Update

Getting ready for the Online Privacy Code

I’ve written quite a bit on this blog about online privacy. When it comes to advertising, last year there was a lot of media attention given to behavioural targeting – where advertisers reach you based on your online behaviour. Advertising firm Phorm was at the centre of that furor, and they exited the UK late last year.

Then of course there was Google Street View, and the fear that it was invading personal privacies (and helping thieves to boot!). Last year we advised you all to add a privacy policy to your website, to make it clear what information you were collecting about visitors.

New Code of Practice

Well now it looks like Websites will have to stick to a new code of practice put in place by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The whole point is to make sure that your website visitor’s information is kept secure and private.

The Personal Information Online Code of Practice simply firms up the advice we gave with regard to having privacy policy. Websites need to make their privacy settings clear and store data securely. There are 8 principles for looking after personal information, but what it boils down to is that only specific, relevant data can be gathered, if a website doesn’t needs the personal information, then it must not hold onto it longer than necessary.

For example, if a company no longer needs your email address or credit card details, they’re obliged to delete them.

If you have a log in to your site, the privacy settings must be well highlighted.

A representative of the ICO said: “Organisations must be transparent so that consumers can make online privacy choices and see how their information will be used.”

“Individuals can take control by checking their privacy settings and being careful about the amount of personal details they post to social-networking sites and elsewhere online,” he continued.

If websites fail to abide by the code, they could be forced to do so by the ICO.

What about you?

Have you put a privacy policy on your site? Do you think that fears over online privacy are overblown? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Make sure your Website has a Privacy Policy

Did you know that ‘best practice’ web design is that almost every website needs to include a privacy policy? In fact, UK law also indicates that if you are collecting information about people then it is a legal requirement to let them know that you are doing it.

A privacy policy is a single page on your website that explains to users what information you are collecting about them as they arrive and move through your website.

If you have installed Google analytics then you will automatically be accumulating information about your users in huge detail. Aside from all the usual analytics stuff such as how they found your site; how long they spent on it; and what pages they looked at; you also find out other more personal data. This includes where they are; what ISP they’re using; what browser they’re using and their screen size.

Others of you might not have installed Google analytics, but may well have a feedback form that asks for email addresses.

And finally, the WebEden website building system itself uses cookies to identify individual users. For example, if someone becomes a member of your website, the system attaches a cookie to them which makes it more straight forward for them to log back in again the next time they visit.

All these mean that it’s a good idea to have a privacy policy. Aside from fulfilling your ‘best practice’ obligations, having a privacy policy is looked upon favourably by the search engines. When the Google spiders crawl your website, a privacy policy is one of the things they look for. It can help you – albeit in a very small way – get your website boosted up the Search Engine Results Pages.

If you’d like to put a privacy policy on your website, below is a template that you can use. Make sure you fill in and adapt the bits that are appropriate for your website.

privacy-policy-template

You don’t need to make your privacy policy a major part of your website, just include a small link to it on the footer of your site, or from your ‘about us’ page. It doesn’t need to be part of the main menu.

Good luck finding and using one – let us know how you get on using the feedback form below.

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