Why you need a Privacy Policy for your website

If you collect personal information (PI) about your customers from your website (or offline), you will need to have a Privacy Policy in place and this will need to be available from your website with easy access for your users.

What should you consider when drawing up a Privacy Policy?

Be careful not to simply copy and paste a Privacy Policy from another website. This policy might not fulfill your needs and could even not be relevant to South African legislation.

  • The policy should meet the legal requirements. Consider the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), the Consumer Protection Act and the National Credit Act, as well as any Industry Codes your organisation need to adhere to. If you do business beyond the borders of South Africa, you need to additionally consider the legislation of these countries too.
  • The policy needs to satisfy your business objectives.
  • The policy needs to instill assurance into your consumers. Privacy is an emotional issue for most people. Your privacy policy needs to address their concerns and make them feel comfortable doing business with your organisation.

Keep your policy up to date. Every time content is updated and functionality changed on your website, their is a risk of exposing users to privacy breaches. It is very important to update your privacy policy as your business changes and make sure new challenges are addressed.

Take care when drawing up your Privacy Policy to use language that your customers will understand. Although a Privacy Policy has its roots in legislation, consider your customers and communicate to them in a way they will be assured and not feel spoken down to.

The benefits of having a Privacy Policy

  • It could reduce the risk of your company being sued for infringing a customer’s right to privacy.
  • The policy should also ensure that you comply with the law and avoid sanctions for non-compliance.
  • Increased consumer confidence. Your potential customers will not feel the need to seek out your competitors who might have better data privacy practices in place.
  • A Privacy Policy should demonstrate good practice and therefore help to attract new customers or to keep existing customers.
  • A well drafted privacy policy should enable you to deal with the personal information of customers in a manner which helps you in your business objectives.

How is personal information gathered?

You can get access to personal information in several ways and you should seriously consider if you truly need the information gained.  Personal information can be gathered in many ways, including:

  • Subscribing to a newsletter,
  • A user who registers on a blog or forum,
  • A user completing an online form,
  • Placement of orders,
  • Through the use of cookies,
  • Monitoring user access and habits,
  • Sending or receiving emails,
  • Messaging services, e.g. online chat.

Get your Privacy Policy on your website

An individual’s right to privacy is nestled in our Constitution, although no standalone privacy legislation currently exist.

To a degree the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) pertains to privacy and the use of online privacy policies. At its core PAIA states that private bodies should allow access to their records under certain circumstances, but can refuse this request should disclosure involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information.

Review your Privacy Policy on a regular basis. Amend the document as your business objectives and the legislation change.

Be prepared and protect your organisation and your customers. Forward your Privacy Policy to us and we will add it to your website*.

*Content updates will be done under your monthly hour available or quoted for as per our standard support rate.

Make sure you have a Privacy Policy on your website
Posted in