What do I need for my site regarding a privacy policy and compliance, terms of use, and accessibility Statement

Legal disclosures on a website are incredibly important, and oftentimes required by law. We see them on nearly every website, but what are they, and what should they say? 

When creating any of these documents, your first stop should always be to consult with your legal council. 

We at Cornershop do not provide legal guidance on what your policies should be or say; only that you have them.

In addition to talking with your lawyer, here are some recommendations for how to create legal policies on your website. 

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a statement displayed on your website that discloses all the ways your site collects, uses, and distributes information about your site visitors. It shouldn’t just focus on the information you request in forms, but also what information is collected through other tracking means, such as Analytics data. 

Over the last few years, many new laws in the US and Europe have been created that require all websites to have a privacy policy, including the Internet Privacy Requirements in California. 

The internet has many resources around creating privacy policies, including: 

Cornershop does not endorse any of these sites, but know that they have been used by other clients to create their own policies, while consulting with their legal council. 

Terms of Use

This policy is an agreement that all users must consent to in order to use a website or service. It’s more commonly seen on ecommerce sites or sites with user interactions (social media, blogs with active commenting, or anything that required a user account to login). 

This policy essentially governs how people should act on the website, allowing you to define permitted (or not permitted) conduct on your website and thus mitigating liability. For example, you can state in your terms of use that comments on the blog can’t use certain words or contain hateful speech, and allowing you to remove that content if violated. 

Discuss with your legal council if this is necessary or required for your specific site, and if so, what specific provisions you need. Some initial templates and resources, include: 

Privacy Compliance

In April 2016, the European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a set of data protection laws. As part of that law, it required websites to disclose to users and requires users to give informed consent if the site is collecting any personal information (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation#Principles). 

Since the creation of GDPR, other local, state and federal governments have enacted similar legislation with similar requirements for certain businesses. 

This gave birth to the ubiquitously used cookie consent popup that is now present on millions of websites. 

You should speak with your legal council to see if your site qualifies, though Cornershop always recommends erring on the side of caution, and enable a cookie consent plugin (after all, it’s a good thing to tell users what data you’re collecting). 

At the time of this writing, Cornershop recommends the GDPR Cookie Compliance plugin by Moove Agency, and we can enable this on your website. Just ask your project team, or the Cornershop support team. 

Accessibility Statement

At Cornershop, we recommend all sites follow the latest best practices for WCAG compliance on a website. Though even when best practices are applied at the time of development, it’s likely with changes in code, plugin updates, and new pages that are added to the site, that your site might violate some of these standards without realizing it. That’s where an accessibility statement comes in. 

An accessibility statement discloses what steps you’ve taken to address accessibility concerns, and what users can do if they find other accessibility issues. 

Not only does this show users your commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, and provide users with a way to contact you should they identify other issues, but it also protects you legally should someone try to take legal action against your site if they find an accessibility violation. 

Some resources for this, includes: 

Once you have drafted your Privacy Policy, Terms of Use or Accessibility Statement with your legal council, Cornershop can help add it to your site. Just ask your project team, or the Cornershop support team.

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