Mar 9, 2006

Privacy Policy Tool and Guidelines

This one’s for the small business owners. Do you need a privacy policy for your website, but you can’t afford Michael Jackson’s lawyers? It’s ok, because you can use the DMA’s privacy policy generator here. Just plug in your company name, check a few boxes, and "bleep bloop!" you gotta privacy policy. It’s a good start, if you’re on a budget. It’ll definitely go a long way towards making your website look more professional.

After that, you might also check out the folks at Truste (you’ve probably seen their little green logo at the bottom of big e-commerce websites). It’s not cheap to get certified with them (we just went through the process ourselves). That’s because they review your privacy policy with a fine-toothed comb, and send you all kinds of required changes. Then they scour your website, looking for anywhere you collect personal info,  sign up for your email newsletters to test your opt-in process, and they even register for your product and use it. They don’t fool around.

But here’s the thing: if you simply want ideas for your privacy policy, you can just download their application and "self-assessment" checklist. Use their requirements to get a general feel for what the "best practices" are for online privacy. For instance, if you send email newsletters to your recipients, and you track who opened and who clicked, do you disclose that fact in your privacy policy?