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The Development of a Privacy Statement

By Isaac Ferreira
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004

One of the most important aspects of doing business online is the ability to build a certain trust among the people with whom you do business. Concerns about security and privacy are one of the issues at the root, for people fear that their information will be shared or misused. It is therefore important for an online business to not only communicate a certain level of credibility but also a certain assurance that potential clients are not abused in any way.

Having a clear, straightforward privacy statement on one's web site is an essential component of continued e-business success. A user's confidence is increased when a site describes what information is being collected, how it is collected, and how that information is being used.

A common place to begin developing a privacy policy is to define the what, why, who, where, and how any information collected is being used. Here are a few the questions that your privacy statement should answer:

Does the site collect information through online forms?
Does the site gather IP addresses and user origins?
Does the site collect demographic data (e.g., age, income, marital status, etc)?
What is being collected without consent?
Does the site use information to customize the user's experience?
Does the site use cookies?
Does the company sell information gathered?
Will any other party have access to collected data?
Can users opt-out of any future communications or services?

If your business cannot afford to invest in legal services to formally draft a privacy statement, TRUSTe uses a series of online forms structured to ask many necessary questions about your website and then produces a complete privacy policy that can be copied and pasted into your website. This service is available at: (

Ultimately, your goal is to increase your businesses profile with online traffic. And an effective way to do so is to create a concise privacy statement. By catering to users privacy needs you will likely increase your site traffic and all-important repeat users.

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