A major concern among visitors to websites is how their personal information will be used. Although, most websites have posted privacy policies, many just copy language found on other websites. The problem is that the borrowed language may describe the practices of the other site, but may not be correct when it comes to the new site using the policy, and when it comes to privacy policies, inaccuracy can be expensive.
Well-intentioned companies can get themselves into trouble with their privacy policies by unknowingly making inaccurate statements. Among the biggest problems is a statement such as, “We will not share your information with any third party." This sounds great, but is usually false. When it comes to the Web, there are numerous legitimate third parties with whom the site owner must share user information just to operate the site: the site’s hosting company, the delivery service delivering purchases, the banks clearing credit card payments, etc. It’s generally OK to make these disclosures, but you need to inform your users.
Generally, there are four critical issues that should be addressed in website private policies. The issues are:
In addition, the FTC has recently issued a report on internet privacy advocating a “Do Not Track" system. Although merely suggestions to the legislature, if implemented this proposal could significantly affect many internet business models that rely on the ability to target advertising to visitors. Web companies should closely watch the development of this area of law.