Ssh – It’s Private

Limulus-Systems-IconConfess – have you ever read the all-important Privacy Policy for a website? I mean, really looked at it? Me neither. Most of us never bother, unless we’re prompted to when we hear something disturbing about a favorite website. Facebook is always in the news for its’ privacy policy, but what about all those other sites where you share information, like shopping sites? Do you look at the privacy policy of each and every one of them? Of course not.

Nobody reads privacy policies, but yet everyone cares, quite justifiably, about their privacy. You have to in the digital age, since the repercussions of making a mistake can be so substantial. At the very least, you can get a lot of spam you don’t want because your email address has been sold, and in the worse case your identity is stolen and your bank accounts are cleaned out!

At Limulus Systems, we likewise have had to develop a privacy policy for our website. My feeling in creating our policy is to follow the Golden Rule; that is, only do things that would be acceptable if they were done to you. I don’t want my email sold, and neither do you, so Limulus Systems shouldn’t do it either. I don’t want to be spammed, and neither do you, so Limulus Systems shouldn’t do that either.

The other important aspect of a privacy policy is to be as honest and upfront as possible. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver and, as my mother would have said, say what you mean and mean what you say. If you are selling data, you must say so; likewise, if you are tracking the user with cookies, you have to report it. From a regulatory point of view, disclosure is more important than the specifics of what you are doing.

We’re still in the testing phase, so our privacy policy isn’t quite as well-developed as for an established company, but it’s still important that users know what we’re doing with their data when they sign up. I recently wrote up our policy with the help of The IT/Digital Legal Companion by Gene K. Landy. Our policy is fairly generic, but it states that we’re not selling or giving away your information, we are using cookies to get website analytics, we’re not going to view your passwords, that sort of thing. As we get bigger, we’ll have edit the policy to be more specific about what we will and won’t do with the data in users’ social streams. It’s perhaps annoying for the user to have a privacy policy constantly changing, but it’s necessary, since the policy has to be a living document, changing as features are added and users’ needs change.

If you have any interest in seeing our privacy policy, let me know and I’ll post it. You probably don’t want to read it though – we already know nobody reads privacy policies.

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