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Guide to Website Privacy and Use of Cookies

Online privacy is important for website visitors and customers. Consumers have become more vigilant about privacy protection following the frequent headlines of inappropriate data usage by companies and security breaches.

In this article, we are going to discuss how websites protect visitors and use cookies.

What is the website privacy policy?

A website’s privacy policy is a statement that details how a site will collect, store, use and protect the personal data of its visitors. Personal data includes information such as names, email and physical address, date of birth, financial details, phone number, and IP address. Apart from outlining how they use the information, the company states how they will meet their legal obligations.

The importance of website privacy 

Any website that collects data about its visitors, even it’s by tracking user location, must have a privacy policy. Some of these websites include e-commerce sitesonline casino sites, sites that use cookies to track user behavior, and sites that send out newsletters regularly.

Websites are required to give users the option to indicate they have read the privacy policy when providing their personal details for the first time.

A privacy policy is legally required by nearly every country. More than 100 countries had already put in place data protection laws by November 2016, with an additional 40 currently working towards the same goal. Although the specific requirements may vary from one country to another, the objective is the same, and that’s to protect data.

Websites are meant to be accessed and used by people from all over the world. That means privacy policies must meet major standards such as those required in the USA and Europe.

Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) have to meet 7 principles which stipulate that data collection must be limited to only what is necessary for a website’s purpose. The principles also include how user information is protected, accountability of the data collectors, and how people can access their information.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) law was enacted across the EEA in May 2016. This law standardized the regulations across the whole region. If you have a website in Europe, it must meet the GDPR.

In the US, you can never over-ride the data protection law. But it has other laws to cover certain circumstances and demographics. The Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA) is one such law that regulates websites that target children below the age of 13, regardless of whether the websites gather data or not. Where websites collect data from children, the guardian or parent must authorize for this to happen.

Third party ads

Blogs and other non-e-commerce sites usually generate income through ads placed on the site by other websites. Amazon Affiliates and Google’s Adsense are the most common, but there are others with similar schemes. These schemes include the formulation of ways on how to protect users as they involve the sharing of data.

Processing payments 

Any website that processes payment must put in place stringent measures to protect customers. These sites collect personal details such as email addresses and names; and financial details such as bank account or credit card details. When this data is breached, it could have some serious consequences to the victims.

What a privacy policy must include

The measures that a website puts in place to protect its visitors depends on the function of the website, data that is collected, and how it is used. Generally, privacy policies must include:

  • The data collected from users, including names, email & physical address

  • If a site uses cookies, it must include how users can opt out of them and the effects it might have on users

  • How and who will collect data. For instance, will it be gathered by an advertising program

  • How the data will be used. They must also mention if they will share it with third parties

  • How the data will be protected from unauthorized access

Also, certain websites must include additional information. For instance, websites that use Adsense must include details about cookies and other third party advertisers or sellers on the website.

In addition, e-commerce websites must include details about how they will access, process and store payment details. They have to state clearly who handles the vital data because the complexity surrounding the secure storage of payment information means many websites use the services of third parties to manage payments and store payment details.

How websites protect users

Here are a few ways websites keep user details safe:

  • SSL encryption  

SSL encryption technology is vital in processing transactions online. The technology provides an encrypted connection between two parties to prevent the interception of data by third parties. Some websites offer payments through other secure methods. One of the most common methods is PayPal. This payment service provider uses SSL encryption, so you can be sure that transactions are secure.

  • Security best practices

E-commerce websites, retail companies, and online casinos are frequently targeted by hackers for personal or financial information. These websites use a range of technologies and tools (for vulnerability scanning, malware protection, web firewalls) to identify and block malicious activities.

  • Secure storage of data 

Another effective method used by websites to protect data is not to store it. As mentioned above, gambling sites are a huge target, and that’s why some online casinos use third-party payment solutions to handle transactions. The goal is to ensure everything takes place on a secure, neutral third-party platform. If you want to make more payment, your payment details will be accessed securely and securely at any time. This helps to minimize the risk of data breach.

Conclusion

The threat of internet fraud, identity theft and data breaches are not going anywhere soon. There’s so much information online, and it has become a lot easier for cybercriminals to operate on a global scale. But with the right privacy policy and tools, the risk can be minimized.

About the author

Sachin Bhatt

He is the Founder of Tekz24. A big technology fanatic who is always on the lookout to learn something new in the field of Technology. He is also a big-time Cricket lover who plays the sport in his free time. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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