If you had a Minitelle connected to your phone in France in the 1980s, you could access such information, such as people’s criminal records, financial records, and more. You could even discover your or someone else’s ancestry on the Minitelle. This type of technology was exactly what many members of the European Council were worried about in 1968 and 1969, just a mere 15 years before the Minitelle was introduced to the many households in France.
America too was working on protecting personal information at that time and by 1974 the Privacy Act was enacted a year after the US Department of Health and Human Services developed a code of rules and regulations which called for fair use of information.
The Fair Information Practice was a code of regulations that the Federal Trade Commission enacted to protect sensitive personal information. Under this law, any entity who collects personal information for whatever reason must disclose to the consumer why they are collecting their information. Furthermore, the Fair Information Practice also allows consumers to have a choice whether they want to give out their personal information or not.
How Are Different Privacy Policies Formatted?
The format of different privacy policies can vary depending on where you go. Some of the common privacy policies that you will run into include the following:
- Retailers and merchants primarily use privacy policies for marketing purposes. Many merchants, big and small, have mailing lists, emailing lists, calling lists, etc. They need to have your consent before they can send any advertising or marketing materials to you personally. Though retailers often use target marketing for many of their customers with interactive advertisements. You may have noticed this every time you log onto your email, facebook, etc. You notice that you will see items you purchase on a regular basis appear in the advertisement. When you click your mouse on one of these images, you go directly to their site. Email marketing and telemarketing, on the other hand, marketers need your permission to send you emails or call you. If you are on a ‘do not call’ list, they are required by law not to call you for marketing purposes. Many people do not like to be bothered by telemarketers, so retailers need to make it clear in their privacy policies why they need your contact information.
- Besides explaining why you are collecting personal information, you need to explain how this personal information is collected. Many websites use a system known as cookies, which are kind of like mini-programs which your website will download on any given visitor’s computer to allow the website to keep appearing at the last setting the visitor left the website. Cookies are the most common way online merchants collect personal information from visitors to their website. Cookies can also be used to specifically target marketing to specifically tailored to a particular visitor. One example is if you have a website that sells popular casual sneakers. A visitor was browsing your selection of Converse shoes. The cookies on your website will then have ads from your website focusing on Converse shoes to that particular visitor every time he or she is on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media site or online email provider, such as Gmail or Yahoo.
Certain states in the United States and international laws, such as laws from the EU, may have certain requirements for privacy policies. California is one example of different laws regarding privacy policies that you might encounter when opening your online store. Things to consider should be as follows:
Is Your Website Targeted To a Local Audience? – Suppose you own a small mom & pop store in a small town as many small business owners do. You simply intend your website to be targeted to a local market within the small town your business is or within the entire county or region. In this case, you need only to know what the local laws are in your state together with Federal laws. Your local governments, such as your municipal and county governments may have their laws you may have to follow also.
Are You Looking To Take Your Website International? – Having an international business can be very challenging. When running an international online business, you will have to know the laws of many different countries. The biggest sticklers to privacy policies outside of the United States are the countries that make up the EU, Switzerland, Canada, and some others. Special attention needs to be taken to these laws, especially since you may need to gather extra information from your international customers for customs purposes.
What are Federal Requirements for Privacy Policies?
There are several laws on the books that dictate the use of privacy policies and why they are needed some of these laws include the following: