Do you run a website that presents information about your business or that even includes interactive parts allowing users to communicate and interact with you?

If so, you are almost certainly collecting some information about individuals for your business purposes, and you probably realize that you need to publish a privacy policy on your website.

In fact, regardless of how you collect data from individuals, the privacy laws in most countries, including Israel, require that you inform them what you are planning to do with such data. When data collection is performed in the framework of a website, it is only natural that you designate a page on the website to provide information about the uses of data collected through the website. This page is often called the privacy policy or privacy statement, and this is the main reason such a page exists in almost every website.

In order for a privacy policy to give you the legal protection you need, it should be written effectively.

Here are a few key principles to keep in mind when writing a privacy policy for your website:

Use clear language – Unless you can demonstrate that all your users are lawyers, avoid legalese and complex language. Otherwise, you will have a hard time proving that your users read and understood your privacy policy. Consequently, your policy may not have the power to protect you.

Be sincere – You should not make promises you cannot or will not keep. Promises like “we will not share your personal information with third parties” do look good on paper, but before you make them, be sure they match the current reality and that of the foreseeable future. Otherwise, you may find yourself bound to such promises against your will, or, alternatively, facing legal action or damage to your reputation.

Foresee the future – Do not build on the fact that you can always update your privacy policy. In some cases, in order to use personal data previously collected for purposes that are significantly different from those specified in the privacy policy, you will be required to obtain the affirmative express consent of the individuals to whom the data relates (which is easy to say, but in most cases, extremely difficult to apply).

Identify the applicable law – Each legal system imposes its own disclosure requirements. Thus, the starting point for preparing a privacy policy is to determine which laws apply to your website.

Disclaim responsibility for things beyond your control – Third-party components that you incorporate into your website may result in third parties using the personal data of your users. You may not have control over these third parties’ privacy and data protection practices, and therefore it is important you clarify that you do not assume responsibility for them.

Tailor your privacy policy to your own business – There is no privacy policy that suits everyone. This is mainly because each website has its own data collection and use practices. Therefore, one of the first steps in preparing your website’s privacy policy should be data mapping. This process will allow you to gain a full understanding of the information collected through the website, the uses made of the information, the third parties with whom it is shared, etc. Naturally, this process requires the involvement of several teams within your business, such as the marketing team, development team, commercial team, and IT team.