Does Your Business Need A Privacy Policy?

Privacy Policy on a Computer

Business owners are always working to stay one step ahead in the compliance world. They also understand the wisdom of mitigating risks by addressing potential problems before they arise. One question that New York businesses sometimes have is whether they should adopt a privacy policy.

The answer, as with many legal questions, is: it depends. If you’re a business owner and want to better protect your bottom line, hiring knowledgeable counsel can help. You can count on the New York business lawyers of Rosenbaum & Taylor.

When Do You Need a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a statement that discloses how a company gathers, uses, discloses, and manages customers’ private information. That may include anything that identifies an individual, such as their:

  • Name
  • Postal address and email address
  • Other contact information
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Marital status
  • Medical information
  • Financial and credit data

Privacy policies are often associated with website usage but are not limited to that medium. If your business routinely collects and uses the information above, it’s a good idea to consider adopting a privacy policy.

There is no federal law that requires a business to adopt a privacy policy. However, there are federal, state, local, and perhaps international laws that affect your business. Your New York business law attorney can explain what these laws are. But not having a privacy policy could be risky if these rules require protecting private data.

In addition to the above purposes, a privacy policy informs the customer that information is being collected. It also discloses specific details about the policy to the customer. A business should automatically provide a copy of the policy to customers and upon request. Privacy policies engender customer trust and can minimize the likelihood of a lawsuit if there’s a data breach.

What Should Be Included in Your Privacy Policy?

Your New York business law attorney can advise you on the need to adopt a privacy policy for your organization. The exact terms of the policy should be customized to the specific needs and operations of your business.

One of the most important features of your policy will be clarity. The wording used must make it abundantly clear what customers should expect from your company. An attorney will be able to help ensure the language is unambiguous and succinct.

The policy should inform the customer what sorts of information are to be gathered. Be specific so the customer is aware of his or her rights. Also, inform the customer why the data is collected and what it will be used for. Finally, you should convey any security measures your company has to safeguard the client’s privacy.

It’s also a good idea to let customers know how they can access the data collected. Your customers should have a way to opt out of this information collection. Be sure it is explained to them how the opt-out process works so they can take advantage of it if they want. Lastly, provide ways that customers can request that their private information will be deleted.

These features are generally used in privacy policies. Whether you use them will be a discussion to have with your New York business lawyer. You and your attorney may wish to delete, modify, or add terms to the privacy policy.

Protecting Your Company’s Best Interests

Once the policy is finalized, it can be published and communicated with customers. Again, your attorney will advise you on the correct way to do so. That’s the comprehensive level of service you can expect from Rosenbaum & Taylor.

Reach out to our New York business law attorneys to learn more about privacy policies today.

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