Privacy policy

08 December 2022

Privacy Policies are Required by Law

Privacy laws vary around the globe, and your website or app must abide by the regulations based on the location of your business, your targeted audience, and where you conduct business.

As data collection and processing becomes more ubiquitous across the internet, privacy laws in the US and around the world set strict requirements for privacy policies.

The following laws impact if and when you legally need a privacy policy page for your website or app:

The General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR regulates privacy policy requirements for entities targeting users in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), regardless of the company’s physical location.

Your business must comply with the GDPR if it targets EU consumers and meets one of the following thresholds:

  • It offers goods or services
  • It monitors online behavior

Chapter 3, Articles 13 and 14 of the law clarify that users have the right to be fully informed about the collection and use of their personal data.

Linking to a generic privacy policy is not enough under the GDPR; you also need freely given consent from users before collecting their personal information. Under the law, personal data refers to any information relating to an identifiable person, either directly or indirectly.

It’s important to note that different privacy laws use unique definitions for personal information, each with slight variations in meaning.

Your business can communicate all relevant data gathering and processing information in compliance with the GDPR and request user consent by publishing a privacy policy on your website.

The penalties for GDPR non-compliance are fines of up to 4% of your annual global turnover or €24 million ($23 million), whatever is highest.

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)

The CCPA regulates privacy policy requirements for businesses targeting users in California, regardless of the company’s physical location.

Your business falls under the CCPA if it meets one of the following thresholds:

  • It generates over $25 million in annual gross revenue
  • It annually buys, receives, sells, or shares the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers (changing to 100,000 under the CPRA)
  • It derives 50% or more of its annual revenue from the sale of personal consumer data

Under the law,  you must inform users about the personal data you collect and how it’s processed.

The text of the CCPA defines personal data similarly to the GDPR but excludes publicly available information, like social media posts.

You must also provide a way for consumers to opt out of the sale of their data.

To comply with the CCPA, you can outline your data practices with our standard privacy policy template and include a conspicuous “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link.

The penalties for CCPA non-compliance are fines of $2,5000 per violation or $7,500 per intentional violation.

The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)

The CalOPPA was adopted in 2004 and was one of the first data privacy regulations implemented in the United States. It set the standard for the presentation, wording, and implementation of privacy policies.

This law established the definition of personally identifiable information and introduced Do Not Track (DNT) requests for users to toggle data tracking preference settings online.

The penalties for CalOPPA non-compliance are fines of up to $2,500 per violation.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

Any business marketing to children in the United States must follow strict rules and regulations following the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines.

Under COPPA, federal law requires groups targeting an audience of 13 or younger to provide a comprehensive privacy policy posted on any part of your website or app that collects data from children. Consent from a parent or guardian is also required before data gathering begins.

The penalties for COPPA non-compliance are fines of up to $40,000 per violation.