While some businesses might be under the impression that posting a privacy policy on their web venue or mobile application (“app”) is of little importance, in truth, a well-crafted privacy policy is a key aspect of any Internet or mobile venture. Letting website/mobile app visitors know, via your privacy policy, what personally identifiable information you collect, how you use that information, to whom you disclose that information and the security measures taken to protect that information, is not only good policy from a customer-relations perspective, it is also required by state and federal law.

In addition to making sure that your online data collection activities are compliant with state and federal law (including the recently amended Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA)), a well-written privacy policy can form a key feature of your online business strategy.

Monetize Your Database

If proper disclosures are included in your privacy policy and above the “Submit” button on your website, you can monetize user data through e-mail marketing, telemarketing and, where permitted by law, mobile/text message marketing, to end-users. On the other hand, if you do not properly inform end-users of your intention to use their data for marketing purposes, any attempt to do so would almost certainly violate applicable law.

While properly collected end-user data may provide your business with a valuable revenue stream, collecting data also imposes a responsibility on your employees to safeguard such data. Various state and federal statutes require that you distribute to your employees a written manual on data security procedures, and that you notify end-users in case of any breach of security with respect to their data.

Help Is on the Way

With all the rules and regulations governing the collection and use of personally identifiable information – and given the potential financial benefits derived from a database of consumer information – it makes good business and legal sense to craft a privacy policy that is well-suited to the needs of your business, and that provides your website/mobile app visitors with the information they require to make an informed decision.