Crafting a privacy policy for your website might sound complicated, but it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself from liability while offering transparency for your users. The best privacy policy generators streamline this process by creating a policy to match the needs of your site automatically.

In this article, we’ll discuss what to look for in a privacy policy generator and cover some of the most popular options for websites in 2021. With a privacy policy generator, you can set up a comprehensive privacy policy quickly without breaking the bank on lawyers or taking the risk of making a mistake while writing your own policy.

What Is a Privacy Policy?

More than three-quarters of all websites collect user data, and you need a privacy policy to collect various pieces of information, including internet protocol (IP) addresses, email addresses, and cookies. Your privacy policy will describe your data collection practices, making sure that your audience is aware of what information they’re providing by using your site.

A thorough privacy policy also covers how any collected data is used and whether it may be shared with any third parties. While legal concerns regarding privacy policies vary widely between countries and even between states within the United States, a privacy policy is still a good idea, regardless of your location.

Why Do Websites Need a Privacy Policy?

You could be liable for extracting personal information without the consent of your audience if you don’t let users know about your data collection practices. Even if you don’t collect any sensitive data, there may be laws in your jurisdiction that require a clear privacy policy.

If your audience includes children, you may also need to explain your practices with respect to collecting data from minors. Furthermore, there are specific privacy regulations for vendors and other specific types of websites, and you could get in real trouble for failing to notify your users properly. Cookies, IP addresses, email addresses, login credentials, location data, and phone numbers are some of the pieces of information that commonly are collected by websites and online stores.

Internet cookies are text files that store information that allows a website to remember you as a unique user. If you log into a website, for example, a cookie may be used to keep you logged in the next time you visit.

Cookies are vital for a seamless browsing experience, but they also come with crucial privacy concerns that shouldn’t be overlooked. Users may not realize what data is being collected, who it’s being shared with, or what rights they have over their own information. Your privacy policy makes it easy for them to find this information and ensures that you stay in compliance with all relevant regulations. We’ll discuss some specific provisions later on to give you an idea of what you need to include in your new privacy policy.

GDPR, CalOPPA, and COPPA

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA), and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) are three major regulations governing online privacy. If you’re running or planning to set up a website, it’s critical to learn about these laws and how they’re relevant to your site to avoid fines and other regulatory penalties.

GDPR

The European Union’s GDPR covers businesses and websites that collect data from residents of the EU. The GDPR applies to location and identity data as well as other information, including sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, and political opinions.

You can be fined up to €20 million (approximately $24 million) or as high as 4 percent of your overall revenue — whichever number is higher — if your website is found to violate GDPR guidelines. Check out the GDPR compliance checklist for United States companies for more information about avoiding GDPR penalties.

CalOPPA

CalOPPA is a similar regulation that applies to websites that collect information from anyone who lives in California. The U.S. tends to leave most privacy legislation to individual states, and California has long been known for having some of the strictest digital privacy regulations in the entire country.

CalOPPA went into effect in 2004 and received an amendment regarding visit tracking in 2013. It was the first American law to require online businesses to post privacy policies, and sites have 30 days to post a privacy policy after being notified of noncompliance. Noncompliance is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 per unintentional violation and $7,500 per intentional violation, which will add up quickly for sites that receive a large volume of traffic.

COPPA

COPPA is an American law covering websites that target an audience of children age 13 or younger. Sites geared toward children face many additional restrictions. For example, they generally have to obtain consent from a parent or guardian before collecting any data from a child.

If your site is governed by COPPA, you’ll also need to take steps to avoid unnecessary data collection and delete any information you collect promptly when it’s no longer needed. Parents must be given reasonable access to the account to review the child’s information, prevent further information gathering, and request deletion of any previously collected data.

What Is the Best Privacy Policy Generator?

With so many terms and conditions generators out there, it can be hard to tell which one is best for your website. While it’s tough to recommend any particular provider for every site, these five stand out from the competition in terms of flexibility, ease of use, and overall value.

The Top 5 Privacy Policy Generators

TermsFeed

With TermsFeed, it’s easy to generate privacy policies as well as terms and conditions, end-user license agreements (EULAs), legal disclaimers, return and refund policies, and other common forms. Furthermore, it’s entirely free to use, although there’s a charge for app privacy policies as well as some clauses that aren’t available to free users.

If you use Google Analytics or a similar tracking tool, collect social media data, sell products online, show ads, use invisible reCAPTCHA, advertise through remarketing services, or show ads on your site, you’ll need to pay extra for the corresponding TermsFeed clause. Specific wording for California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), GDPR, CalOPPA, COPPA, or other privacy laws also comes at an additional cost.

Overall, TermsFeed is ideal for websites, apps, e-commerce stores, Facebook apps, software as a service (SaaS) apps, and a wide range of other settings. If you use TermsFeed to generate privacy policies or any other forms, you’ll only pay a one-time fee for any premium services you request. You won’t have to worry about any ongoing charges, which makes TermsFeed significantly more convenient than providers that charge recurring fees.

Free Privacy Policy

Like TermsFeed, Free Privacy Policy comes with easy compliance for common regulations like CCPA, CalOPPA, COPPA, and GDPR. It also works with the requirements of private services including Google Play, the Apple App Store, Google AdSense and AdWords, and Google Analytics.

As the name implies, Free Privacy Policy is completely free, and it doesn’t charge for specific clauses like TermsFeed or certain other providers. In addition to privacy policies, it also offers terms and conditions, cookie policies and consent forms, return and refund policies, disclaimers, end user license agreements. All things considered, Free Privacy Policy is one of the best ways to create a privacy policy without spending any money.

PrivacyPolicies.com

While PrivacyPolicies.com is free to use, it works more like TermsFeed by charging for some advanced features. Free users can generate, host, and revise a basic privacy policy that covers some third-party ad and analytic tools: Piwik/Matomo, Clicky, StatCounter, Unity Analytics, Bing Ads, AdButler, and Unity Ads.

Clauses for other third-party platforms, as well as CalOPPA, CCPA, and GDPR, are available for an additional one-time fee. If you opt for any premium clauses, you can also download your privacy policy as an HTML, DOCX, or plain text document. While there isn’t any real-time support, you can send the customer service team an email if you have questions or run into any issues with the service.

Shopify

Shopify offers free privacy policies, refund policies, and terms and conditions, and there’s no extra charge for clauses for GDPR or any other regulations. The catch, insofar as there is one, is that Shopify uses this opportunity to provide a 14-day free trial and try to convert you to their service. They’ll also ask for your email address, so you’ll likely receive marketing messages until you unsubscribe. You can check a box to skip the trial so that you don’t have to commit to using Shopify if you only want a privacy policy.

Unfortunately, Shopify doesn’t provide the same range of customizability that you can get from other generators on this list. It’ll ask for your company’s name, address, and URL, but that’s it — there’s no option to add clauses for particular regulations or personalize your privacy policy in any other way. Furthermore, there’s no information about the details of the privacy policy template other than the fact that it’s designed to be compliant with GDPR.

Privacy Policy Online

Privacy Policy Online is another excellent free option that’s easy to use and surprisingly quick to customize. After entering the name and URL of your website, you’ll be asked whether you use cookies or whether you show ads through Google Ads or other third parties.

In contrast to TermsFeed and PrivacyPolicies.com, Privacy Policy Online doesn’t charge for these extra clauses. After creating your privacy policy, you can view it online or copy the text to your clipboard if you want to transfer it into another application. While Privacy Policy Online doesn’t support the comprehensive set of third-party platforms that are covered by PrivacyPolicies.com, it’s still a convenient free option that should be sufficient for many smaller websites.

Should I Use a Privacy Policy Generator?

Obviously, you don’t need a privacy policy generator to create a clear privacy policy, but this is often the most convenient and cost-effective option. While larger organizations may prefer to build a custom privacy policy in cooperation with specialized lawyers, this isn’t practical for most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Similarly, writing a privacy policy yourself is an incredibly risky strategy if you aren’t familiar with the relevant laws, and you’ll end up using more time than you would have spent on a privacy policy generator.

With a free or low-cost privacy policy generator, you’ll be able to configure and host a privacy policy in as little as a few minutes. The providers discussed above offer excellent flexibility to help you match up your privacy policy with any regulations or private requirements you need to comply with.

How to Write a Privacy Policy

When writing a privacy policy, it’s important to be as concise as possible while making sure to cover all pertinent information. Privacy policy generators make this easy by providing preset clauses for convenient transparency and compliance with any relevant regulations. In this section, we’ll cover some basics that you may want to discuss in your new privacy policy.

What Should a Privacy Policy Include?

How and Why Data Is Collected

After reading your privacy policy, users should have a comprehensive understanding of how you collect data and what that data is used for. You should be extremely specific and cover anything that could be collected — consider using bullet points to make the list easier to read.

If you give users the option to create an account with an email or phone number, for example, it should be clear that they only need to provide one. For anything other than login credentials, make sure to include a short note of what each data point is used for and how sharing their information helps improve the user experience.

Data Sharing Practices

In addition to your own data collection and usage, your users want to know who else could end up with access to their information after they give it to you. There are several good reasons to share customer data with third parties, including product recommendations, marketing analytics, and more effective service from any providers you partner with.

Unless you sell customer information to third parties, don’t forget to include a note letting customers know that their information will never be sold for a profit. This step goes a long way toward improving your credibility and increasing audience trust in your brand. It’s critical to emphasize your commitment to privacy and security throughout the entire privacy policy.

Regulations

Generally, websites that are bound by privacy laws should include targeted clauses to stay in compliance with all relevant regulations. Some providers offer preset clauses for common regulations like CalOPPA, GDPR, and COPPA, making it easy to avoid regulatory penalties without writing the policy yourself.

User Rights

Finally, make sure to explain what rights your users have over their personal information and highlight any exceptions or restrictions that they should be aware of. GDPR, for example, generally requires websites to give users the right to be forgotten and have their data removed without undue delay, which typically means about one month.

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