My Website Doesn’t Have a Privacy Policy Yet…What’s the Big Deal?

If you’re reading this, chances are you are either thinking about – or have already started – an online business, and have some sort of website in the works. WOOHOO! Whether you’ve made the leap from your corporate job, or are working on your “side hustle” while still in your 9 to 5, jumping in to entrepreneurship as a new business owner is incredibly exciting!! Whether you invest in a web designer or take on the project of setting your website up yourself, BEFORE it goes live, there are a few legal documents you’ll need to have in place, to make sure your website is legally compliant!

One of the most important documents that NEEDS to be in place BEFORE your website goes live is a Privacy Policy. In the United States, we are dealing with the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) which protects those living in California who visit a commercial website or online service.

This regulation requires that the operator of the website (aka YOU) post a Privacy Policy outlining a number of things, including what information is being collected, how the information may be changed, how you will respond to “do not track” requests, whether third parties may have access to the information collected, and similar requirements. (Even if you don’t live in California…if your website can be SEEN by those who do = you’re on the hook for this.)

So…what happens if your website is viewable in California and you DON’T have a complete Privacy Policy?

You could be found in violation of the “unfair competition” provision (I’ll spare you the entire legal explanation), and could be liable for a penalty of up to $2,500 for EACH violation. EACH violation = each time someone visited your website without a sufficient privacy policy, which would add up VERY quickly. For example, if just 40 people visit your website before it had a Privacy Policy, you could be looking at up to $100,000 in fines. And what if thousands visited your Privacy Policy-less website???

Let’s not even go there, girl.

Not only do you need to be sure a Privacy Policy is in place, but it must be complete, and cover each element required by the law, depending upon what personal information you collect from your website, how it’s stored, etc. In the past, Google was fined six figures for having an incomplete or vague Privacy Policy. So not only do you need something in place, but it must be complete!

So why am I yelling at your over a bunch of boring legal laws?

Because I care about the success of your business, and don’t want to see you on the hook for a huge fine that was totally avoidable with a $100 Privacy Policy link onto your website!

Getting these legal documents squared away in the beginning of your business venture is SO crucial to your success later on!

The last thing you want is to realize down the road that a corner you cut in the beginning could affect your current success, or left your business exposed!

To sum all the legal jargon into one sentence: If your website can be seen by those in California and you do NOT have a privacy policy in place that meets the requirements of CalOPPA, you are leaving your bright, shiny new business exposed to possible catastrophic fines.

Get yourself a Privacy Policy ASAP, get it on your site, and never worry about it again, knowing you are protected and legally compliant.

If you need JUST a Privacy Policy, I am at your service HERE!

If you don’t currently have any legal documentation on your website (including Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, and Terms & Conditions) I would recommend saving a few bucks and going for the Website Template Bundle HERE!

Don’t forget, these packages come with step-by-step instructions for how to complete, and why each paragraph is important within each document, so you are covered, AND you understand why. Additionally, each purchase comes with unlimited email access to yours truly, so you can ask any questions or clarify anything you need!

xoxo

Christy

ps: Although I am an attorney, this is not legal advice – just information!

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