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Defining A Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a legal statement on an app or website clearly outlining what aspects of a user’s data are collected, how it is stored, and what is done with that information. 

Online activity used to occur like this when sharing information was like the wild west. Thankfully, we’re in a more sophisticated age, though it does require more advanced policies around privacy and data sharing.


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The App's Privacy Policy

As this is a legal document. It’s important all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. Should a business fail to list that some aspect of data is being stored and users discover this, then the business is open to a fraud lawsuit.

The collection and use of data by any third parties connected to your business, app, and website must also be mentioned. Even if you’re not using the data, if a third party in connection to your website or app is, then it has to be listed in your privacy policy as well.


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Things Included In The Privacy Policy

A general overview of what you need in a privacy policy:

  • Collection of personal data
  • Use of personal data
  • Disclosure/sharing of personal data
  • Advertising and Analytics Services Provided by Others
  • Data Transfers and Retention 
  • Third-Party Services 
  • Your preferences
  • Privacy rights for California consumers


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The Need Of A Privacy Policy

Now that data storing and information tracking are common digital practices, it’s important businesses are upfront about how a user’s personal information is managed. Providing clarity around this topic both protects the business from accusations for data mishandling, as well as lets the user make informed decisions about which websites and apps they trust. Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony at a 2018 Senate hearing is an illustrative example of the consequences of privacy policies not accurately reflecting a business’ data practices.


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The Two Main Platforms

In most circumstances, it’s required to have a privacy policy stated on your app, web app, and website. For example, if you want to host your app in the Apple app store or Android app stores, then you have to include a clear privacy policy defining how users’ data is used. If you don’t, you can have your app suspended, rejected, or removed from their platforms. 


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The Names Of The Laws

A few notable privacy laws domestic to the USA are CalOOPA and CCPA. Without getting bogged down in the legal-ese of these laws, the overarching takeaways concern:

  • How and why businesses collect data
  • Consumers right to know, consent, and opt-out of data collection
  • Penalties for businesses that fail to comply.


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