By Chase Lawyers

Is a Website Privacy Policy Required by Law?

The internet provides brands with incredible opportunities to truly connect with consumers. However, its fast-changing landscape is also fueling growing concerns, specifically on using and sharing personal data to third parties without the consent of the consumer. 

Nevertheless, it is an opportunity to gain consumer trust by implementing effective data practices and publishing a transparent privacy policy.

Due to the lack of a single extensive internet law on online privacy, the personal data of Americans are at the mercy of a patchwork of sector-specific laws with varying degrees of protection. Does US law even require a website privacy policy?

What Is Internet Law?

Internet law refers to legal principles and legislations that govern the use of the internet in all its forms. It usually encompasses principles from other legal fields, such as internet marketing law and data privacy. 

The US has a myriad of internet marketing laws that ensure truthful online advertising and privacy. In general, there are three areas that online marketers have to be concerned about: data collection, intellectual property issues, and marketing regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Data privacy laws, on the other hand, govern how organizations collect and handle consumer data. Most, if not all, of these laws require website operators to disclose what information they collect from consumers and for what purpose in a legal document called privacy policy.

What Does a Website Privacy Policy Cover?

A website privacy policy communicates how and why an organization collects data from its consumers. In general, it discloses the types of data an organization collects, as well as how it collects, handles, stores, and protects consumer data.

Depending on the laws and policies they have to comply with, website operators even have to specify how consumers can change the way organizations collect, store, or share consumer data. Operators may also have to disclose the rights of consumers to request data deletion or to opt-out of the sale of personal information.

Is a Website Privacy Policy Required by US Internet Law?

The US doesn’t have a single all-encompassing federal law that requires websites to post a privacy policy in all circumstances. However, a website privacy policy is still a legal requirement.

There are existing federal and state laws that govern privacy policies