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Have a Privacy Policy. You want to be authoritative? Then be responsible.

If you are one of those business owners who are still wondering what the purpose of a privacy and cookie policy is and what makes a good one, then you’ve arrived at the right place.

A privacy policy, in brief, is the document that shows you care about the collected data from your visitors and how you intend on using it. For example are you going to sell or share this data with a third party and if so for what purpose. Therefore, it is a document that needs to be written carefully. These are some of the common instances when you need to have a Privacy Policy on your website:

· When you store cookies in the visitor’s browser.
· When you ask for and store personal information, such as name, email, phone, address, etc.
· When you have many external links.
· When you display ads which store cookies in the user’s browser.

So what is it that you need to include in your website’s Privacy Policy? Here is what you need to be clear about:

· Cookie storing.
· Sharing users’ personal information, relations with third parties, etc.
· Type of displayed advertisements and their connection to third parties.
· Dealing with users’ personal data such as social activity and uploads in the case of crime investigation.

Here is an example of a Privacy Policy. Of course yours may differ or be a shorter one, however, make sure it’s answering the following questions:
· What information are you collecting?
· How will you use this information?
· What security measures have you taken to protect this information?
· How will you store the information?
· How long will you store the information for?
· Will you share the information with third parties?
· How can you be contacted regarding the Privacy Policy?

One of the most important questions your Privacy Policy should answer is: Why is the information being collected? Here are some of the reasons for that:
· The information will be used to improve the content on the website.
· It is needed for an internal review.
· It will be used to notify users of the latest updates.
· It will be used for contacting customers directly.
· It will be used to protect the website against misuse.
· It will be shared with third parties for marketing.
· It will be used by a successor if the website ownership changes.

When we talk about cookies we don’t mean the ones in the jar, they all got stolen by the cookie monster anyways. Website Cookies have their own EU regulation you need to comply with. All websites which are targeted at EU citizens fall under the Cookie Law. This EU Directive was adopted by all EU countries in 2011, whereas the UK updated its own Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

In brief, the Cookie Law requires all websites to obtain their visitors’ consent to store or retrieve information on any web-connected device (computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.). The Cookie Law aims to protect online privacy by informing users that their personal information is being collected by certain websites they visit and giving them the freedom to allow or reject this practice.

Nowadays, almost all websites use cookies – little data files which are stored in users’ browsers – and some websites have hundreds of them. It’s important for every business, that owns a website which stores cookies, to understand that they must comply with the law, even if that comes with certain changes. The compliance with the law requires three basic steps:
· Conduct a Cookie Audit – this is a scan that will tell you all about the type of cookies your website sets, what are they used for and who’s controlling the data they store. Here is a little hint: often, it’s not even you. It’s a third party.
· Educate your visitors – this includes explaining how and why you use cookies on your website, as well as informing them of their rights.
· Obtain your users consent and give them some guidance and control.

Cookies are often regarded as the short-term memory of the web – stored in your browser they help a site “remember” certain bits of information between visits and pages. Mostly used for improving the web experience, cookies save time and effort. They are responsible for automatically logging you into a website when you return, remembering text size preferences, the auto filling of forms and more useful website magic.

Some cookies collect data across multiple websites you visit, thus creating a form of “behavioral profile of your browsing”. This profile can help advertisers and marketers target you with specific content and adverts. This specific use of cookies is what the EU is trying to raise awareness of.

We are a digital marketing agency and our website does store cookies we use for improving our visitors’ web experience. However, we realize that not every web user understands how cookie storing works and what personal information they might be sharing. We suggest you take a look at our Privacy and Cookie Policy and contact us if you have any questions about it.

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