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Protecting Your Website From Liability

A.  Privacy Policy.

Website owners often times ignore the Privacy Policy for their site because there is not a lot of information on needs and requirements. The Privacy Policy for a website is a very important element if there are any breaches of security. This policy is the statement that you make to visitors to your website about what you will do with information gathered from them, how you are gathering that information and how the information will be stored, among other things.

Along with your website Privacy Policy it is very important that employees understand those privacy practices and can communicate them to customers and users.

Your individual Privacy Policy is wholly up to your company and its individual commitment to privacy. Here are some things to think about when determining policy:

1. If you collect personal data, you should explain what you intend to do with that data.

2. You should explain how the personal data is collected, i.e., the use of cookies or an online account system.

3. If you use third party merchant services, you will need to check those merchants’ requirements and terms to make sure you are in compliance.

4. You should explain how the data is stored and protected and for how long the information will be held.

5. Who within your company has access to the data?

6. Does your website link to any third party websites that have their own privacy policies that may need to be incorporated into your own policy?

7. What can a user do if the Privacy Policy is not met?

Once a Privacy Policy is posted online, it is crucial that your company adheres to it. If the Privacy Policy is not followed, your business may be in violation of state and federal consumer protection laws.

B.  Terms and Conditions.

Terms and Conditions are not legally necessary unless you are collecting personal data. These terms can both limit your liability, should you be confronted with a lawsuit against your business, and protect your rights to the content on your site.

Here are some things to consider and include in your Terms and Conditions.

1. Always include a copyright notice and any trademarks.

2. Limit your liability by having a disclaimer if you have errors in your content.

3. Provide that the laws of the state in which your website operates governs any controversies.

While it is not necessary to have an attorney draft your Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, and there are sites from which you can generate your own Terms, it is a good idea to consult an attorney to make certain that you have covered everything your business requires. Do not simply ‘copy and paste’ Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions from another website since they may not apply to your business, and it is considered copyright infringement.