Privacy policies for bloggers & avoiding legal risks

Posted on February 21, 2012

Photo by Noukka Signe via Flickr Creative Commons

Previously, we’ve discussed the DMCA “safe harbors” which, if followed, can help you avoid liability for hosting third-party infringing material on your blog. A couple of months ago we began covering privacy policies and we’d like to revisit that now.

The privacy policy informs users about how the website or blog collects and shares personal information. A well-crafted privacy policy should include, at minimum, the following: (i) details on the kind of user info you’re collecting, how it will be used, with whom it may be shared and under what circumstances; (ii) details on the use of cookies and other tracking tools; (iii) a statement about the safety of your data collection methods and procedures in place in the event of a breach; (iv) opt-out procedures; (v) your contact information; and (vi) the effective date of the policy and how changes to the policy are to be communicated.

If your site or blog targets or knowingly collects information from children under 13, it must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. If you do not plan to collect information from minors, you should consider adding a statement to your privacy policy saying:

This content is intended for adults. We will not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13. If you are a parent or legal guardian of a child under age 13 who you believe has submitted personal information to this site, please contact us immediately.

The information presented herein by the firm is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should not act upon any information contained within this blog post without first seeking specific advice from us or from your existing counsel. The firm makes no warranties, representations or claims of any kind with respect to any of the information contained herein.

Daniel Bellizio and Brian Igel are the founders of of Bellizio & Igel, PLLC, a boutique law firm based in New York City that counsels small businesses and entrepreneurs, primarily in fashion, the arts, lifestyles and entertainment.

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