Technology has become such an important part of our everyday life and imagining a day without a smartphone or going online is impossible for the huge majority of us.
With so much data being exchanged and collected by all sorts of companies while people are surfing the Web, the importance of Privacy Policies are becoming more evident to everyone.
However, the practice of clicking the ‘I Agree’ button without reading Terms & Conditions as well as not going through policies which give different companies access to our personal data is still prevalent. These digital documents are seen as long and boring, so we choose to skip them.
Let’s explain what Privacy Policies are encompassing and why it’s important to read these important documents.
In the last several years, the public has become more aware about what sort of information is being gathered and why. Each time we go online, we leave a unique digital trace and that’s what websites are following. Our location and the type of the device we use are just some of the information they are able to collect.
Not only is the data amassed, it is also stored and sold. Data brokers are firms that use your personal info and then sell it to corporations, investors, and individuals. The problem is that this sphere is largely unregulated. The same goes for social media. This part of the internet land has also been problematic when it comes to what social media companies do with the users’ data.
Given the fact that more and more people are using the internet, the concerns about their security and privacy are becoming more prevalent. That’s why it’s important not to skip reading the documents where websites are explaining how they behave when it comes to privacy. When you go through these documents make sure you take these things into consideration:
What Data is Collected and How?
Usually located at the bottom of the homepage of the site, these policies will or at least should inform you what types of personal data they gather from you. This can include your name, credit card number, location, etc. Ask yourself if what they request is relevant to the product or service they provide you with. Also, find out if the data is being collected once or on an ongoing basis.
Are There Any Security Measures Put in Place?
They should also tell you whether they plan to sell your data or use it in any form. Some sites use that information to send you marketing emails or to confirm your identity. Some sites use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption, a security protocol that will make sure all the material they gathered from you is protected.
If you’re using some type of free service, you should expect less powerful security measures. Famous companies generally invest more in protecting their clients. After you’re done reading the document, you should feel secure that the info you provide them with will be safe. If you don’t feel that way, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take your business someplace else.
For How Long Will They Store Your Data?
Different companies have different rules when it comes to this question. Some of them will store your information for a few months only, while others will do it for several years. Pay attention to the language they use in the document when it comes to defining this timeframe and if you don’t feel comfortable with their policy, you should simply move on.
Is There an Opt-Out Option?
Certain websites might require a lot of data but some of them also offer a chance to opt-out from certain things. For example, some of them state that they will use the email address you provided them with to send you promotional material. However, they might also give the opportunity to block that sort of communication.
In a world that heavily relies on the internet and smart technology, privacy policies are becoming more and more important. The laws will have to change and this part of the digital sphere will have to be appropriately regulated.