You Must Comply with Privacy Laws

By themisfit on March 10, 2021
Did you know that if you have a contact form on your website that you are collecting personally identifiable information (PII)?

Companies are consuming personal information on millions of customers, and since almost everything has become digitized, this means that your personal information is floating around in cyberspace with little oversight and greedy corporations that can capitalize and profit from it.

But in the last few years we (“we” as in the general public) have started to find out just how much of our personal information companies are collecting, sharing, and selling which has caused a lot of worry.

The European Union was one the first places to make a sweeping law change (called GDPR) forcing companies (of any size) to report what information they are collecting and what they do with it. You may have noticed more and more and more websites asking you to agree to their policy or notices when you first enter their website— that’s thanks to GDPR.

Even though it’s taken more time, United States law makers are starting to make progress towards more transparency with your personal data (clearly stating what data you collect and what you do with it)— with some states already passing laws to protect their citizens and dozens more making their way through legislation.

It seems individual states are making progress quicker than the Federal government— which means that instead of one set of guidelines to govern us all, website owners are now forced to comply with many individual laws from different states.

What does this mean for you?

As someone who owns or manages a website, it’s likely that many of these laws apply to you and your website, even if the laws aren’t in the books of the state you operate from.

The majority of the laws being passed are done to protect the citizens of a specific state or country, and worded so that any website that is accessible from citizens of those areas must comply.

In other words— California’s new act might apply to you in Texas even though your business doesn’t operate in California.  Your compliance is required because people in California are able to access your website.

Does your website need to comply?

If you have an eCommerce store, use Google Analytics, or even have something as simple as a contact form (so people can send you an email directly from your website) there are laws already in effect that you are obligated to comply with.

This means that the vast majority of small business websites are subject to compliance— including most of my customers.

How do you comply with privacy laws?

This can get fairly complicated quickly— but essentially you need to have a Privacy Policy (and in some cases a Terms of Use document and Disclaimer) that states (in legalese) what data you collect, what you do with it, and how people can request you erase their data.

These documents are most commonly drafted up by lawyers, and are specific to your website (meaning a “generic template” just won’t do). While there are hundreds of generators and templates on the market willing to take a quick buck from you for a policy— most of these don’t actually comply with the laws that are being updated, changed, and created every day.

If you opt to go the safe route and hire a lawyer to write your privacy policy, you’ll want to keep them on retainer— as you’ll need to have them update your policy any time Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon (or any other governing body in on the globe) passes anything new.

Unless you are the lawyer on retainer— this isn’t welcome news.

The most cost-effective & complaint solution

I’m not sure lawmakers think of the logistics of these things and the impact this will have on small businesses who can not afford to either comply or not comply.

The fines for non-compliance seem to be aimed at large corporations, as racking up only just a few of them could bankrupt many of the 28.7 million small businesses in America—but there’s no exception for a mom-and-pop shop.

A lawyer is going to cost you a few grand to draft a policy, and will happily invoice you whatever they please to update it continuously.

I've got a solution!

Termageddon was founded by a privacy and technology attorney, and offers a solution unlike anyone else on the market.

Using their policy generator you answer a few questions about your website and the type of data you collect. This process takes less than 5 minutes, and when you’re done you’re given an “embed code” (code for your website) that will embed your policy on your website.

Because the policy isn’t hosted directly on your website (it’s embedded on your website and being delivered from Termageddon’s servers) Termageddon is able to update your policy remotely— and this is the key.

They are able to, as a single entity, stay up to date will all the changing laws, publish revisions to their policies globally, and push those updates to you instantly— ensuring that you stay compliant no matter what new laws come into effect.

As an official Agency Partner of Termageddon, I’d be glad to work with you personally to ensure your policy is complete (and applicable to your website) and embed the policies for you (which is what most people prefer).

For $15/mo, the peace of mind alone is worth the price— but one lawsuit and penalty would likely be more than you'll ever spend on Termageddon’s services for the life of your website.

Article written by themisfit

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