Your policy should disclose that your site will collect and maintain personal information provided by its users, including their names, addresses, mobile telephone numbers, email addresses, and so forth. It should also clarify that the amount of information they provide is completely voluntary; however, providing less information might limit a user’s ability to access all of the site’s features.
Usage and analytics data
Let the user know whether your company collects usage information in order to assess how users access and utilize the site. This data is valuable to the company for various internal purposes, including troubleshooting and improving the site’s functionality. If applicable, feel free to disclose that the information you collect might include the user’s Internet service provider, type of web browser or operating system, IP address, viewed pages, time and duration of site visits, crash logs, and other information relating to site usage.
“Most web browsers are initially set up to accept cookies. You can reset your web browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. Please note, however, that certain features of the site might not function if you delete or disable cookies. THE SITE’S COOKIES DO NOT AND CANNOT INFILTRATE A USER’S HARD DRIVE TO COLLECT ANY INFORMATION STORED ON THE HARD DRIVE.”
Text message data
Some websites permit users to either transmit text messages to the company (for support purposes, for example) or between users (on dating sites, for example). If this is applicable to your site, then you should notify the user that the company reserves its right to retain this information indefinitely.
If your company sells products online, it must collect user information in order to ship the product or otherwise make it available to the user.
Customer service and follow-up
Whether your company provides a product or service, it needs user information for customer support services, including dealing with guarantees, returns, repairs, replacements, rescheduling, cancellations, billing and payment issues, or other matters. Your company might also collect user information for routine follow-ups in order to assess customer satisfaction.
Your website might use personal information for periodic general announcements to users. These can include notifications, updates regarding the company or the site, marketing communications, and so forth.
Third party service providers
Note that if your company is subject to any industry-specific regulations regarding the sharing of user information (for example, the protection of patient information under HIPAA guidelines), then you should further reassure the user that your company will adhere to such regulations.
Sharing with affiliates or acquirers
Your company must be permitted to share user data with its affiliated entities, including parent companies and subsidiaries. Furthermore, if the company participates in a merger, stock purchase, asset purchase, or other acquisition, it will be required to share user information with the purchaser or surviving entity.
Compliance with laws
Your company might be required to disclose user information in order to comply with any court orders or applicable laws. The following is a standard provision that addresses this issue: