Privacy Policies are agreements where website owners disclose the personal data they collect from site visitors along with information about how that data is managed, used and protected.
In this article, we'll take a look at why blogs need Privacy Policies, what sort of personally identifiable information blogs directly and indirectly collect, and how the information is used.
Personal information is anything that could be used by itself or in combination to identify an individual. This could be a person's name, email address, social security number, credit card number, date of birth, etc.
Privacy Policies protect your blog visitors' privacy and informs them of their rights to control their information.
Blogs, just like websites and mobile apps, need Privacy Policies if they're collecting personal information from their visitors and readers.
What you might not realize, however, is that even if you're not collecting personal data from your site's visitors directly, such as by asking them to sign up for a newsletter, you may still be doing it indirectly.
- Because you collect/use personal information and are required by law to have one. This personal information can be collected when you allow user comments or allow users to sign up, requiring an email address or name.
- Because you're using a third party analytics tool like Google Analytics.
Privacy Policies are Required by Law
If your blog visitors live in any jurisdiction with privacy laws, you are legally obligated to comply with those laws.
For instance, in the United States, you're required by the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) to disclose how you collect and handle personal information you collect from residents of California.
Even if your business isn't located in California, you are required to abide by the California law because of the likelihood of attracting California residents to your site.
In doing this, you must disclose that you collect that information and explain what you do with it.
What's more, if you're using a content management system such as WordPress or other popular blog platforms, you may be collecting and storing your commenters' IP addresses as well.
Common types of personally identifiable information often collected by blogs include:
- Email address
- Profile picture/image/gravatar
- IP address
Additionally, many blog owners actively use third party comment forums, plugins, and tools such as Disqus and Facebook Comments to host user remarks.
The Facebook Comments application, for instance, allows people to comment on any blog integrated with their Facebook account. In these cases, the blog is gathering and storing personal information about the visitor's social media account.
Similarly, if you're using software such as Disqus to host user comments on your blog, then you must be aware that the tool collects personally identifiable information about your site's visitors.
Privacy Policies are Required by Third Party Services
Because some types of cookies collect information that can be used to identify an individual, this falls under the category of protected personally identifiable information.
In addition to this, the policy explains how users can opt-out of Google Analytics tracking.
- Your site is governed by the privacy laws of the jurisdictions where your site visitors live.
- Answer a few questions about your business:
- Add your website or app information:
- Answer a few questions about what information you collect from your users:
- Select options for how your users can contact you: