The “Big Guys” Do It – It Must Be Ok

James Chiodo, Certified Information Privacy Professional CIPP/US

A website privacy policy and terms of use (or terms and conditions) is not much different from other types of contracts business owners use in their day-to-day operations; they are legal contracts with website users and customers and enforceable in court. And in the case of a privacy policy, it is required by law to have one posted on your website or blog.

Some website and blog owners treat these policies and agreements as if they were unimportant documents that can be posted anywhere they see fit. Unfortunately, they usually end up in a bad spot on their website or blog that will provide them with little or no legal protection.

(See Clear and Conspicuous Posting Guidelines)

When talking with customers, I always remind them of the legal requirements for posting their online documents. Every so often, a customer refers me to a big company’s website to show me how they are posting their website policies. Their response is: well, if this company posts their documents this way, and they are a large company, then surely it must be ok for me to post mine the same way.

This is the same type of thinking that causes the “Big Guys” to get sued and fined month after month because they do not follow the legal requirements for posting and following their own policies.

More often than not, the big companies are some of the worst offenders for not following the legal requirements for operating an online website.

Using another company’s website as a guideline for your own website or blog makes little sense, especially considering as of this post, over 95% of the websites and blogs in the U.S. are in violation of the law. And, most of the “Big Guys” post their privacy policies, agreements and disclaimers in such a way as to make them almost useless for legal protection.

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