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Is Data Privacy and GDPR Really That Important When Building a New Website? (Spoiler: Yes, Most Definitely.)

Jun 9, 2021

 How important are data privacy and GDPR when building a new website?

Sounds strange, but the topic of data privacy is quickly becoming almost more important than your actual business itself. We live in a digital economy, where a simple relay of information can cause the biggest ripples for a business. While it forms an irrefutable part of your entire sales system and generating new leads, it also brings the need for safeguards into question.

As big organizations play fast and loose with the sharing and collecting of data, the customers have begun to see the downsides of clicking the “Accept All” button. Therefore, anyone entering the digital space should be hyperaware of their data privacy policies for two reasons – ethics and the law. 

Data Privacy Regulations

GDPR

In May 2018, the internet changed for good with a new European privacy regulation named GDPR. General Data Protection Regulation sets a precedent for how customer data is collected, stored, and used. 

It essentially lends the citizens of EEA and EU greater control over how their information is being dealt with across the spectrum. Although interestingly, the law applies to all companies who offer goods or services to anyone in the European Union.

Under GDPR, individuals have –

  1. The right to access
  2. The right to be forgotten
  3. The right to data portability
  4. The right to be informed
  5. The right to have the information corrected
  6. The right to restrict processing 
  7. The right to object
  8. The right to be notified

To help you understand the implications, companies who do not comply with GDPR stand to be penalized with 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is higher.

CCPA

Similarly, companies conducting business in California which –

  1. Generate $25 million or more annually;
  2. Buy or sell personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices;
  3. Earn more than half its annual revenue selling consumers’ personal data

Are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act. The law has been structured to give California residents an absolute right to get a list of the data a business has about them and details of everyone they have shared it with. 

In effect from January 2020, non-compliant businesses can be fined up to $7,500 per record. 

VCDPA

The rights to correct, delete, know, opt-out, and access have been given to the residents much like their counterparts. Although, the law does depart from its American predecessor by aligning with GDPR in terms of the assessment requirements. Plus, it leaves the enforcements directly to the Attorney General without giving the consumers a direct right to action. 

Either way, it requires businesses to implement and maintain reasonable data security practices to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of personal data.

 

First Party and Third Party Cookies

Cookies are the elements of the web that remember specific information about the user, such as language preferences, login details, products added to the cart, etc. It marks down the customer’s journey across the platform to enable behavioral analysis.

With GDPR and other privacy laws gaining momentum, it becomes crucial to understand what information cookies retain and how they are used. 

 

What are First-Party and Third-Party Cookies?

As the names suggest, first-party cookies are generated by the host domain. Inclined towards better UX and key pieces of information, these are both necessary and harmless. 

On the other hand, third-party cookies are created by domains other than one which is being used. Set for live chats and other services, they are dominant funnels for online tracking, retargeting and advertising purposes. 

 

How do Third-Party Cookies Work?

Features like social buttons, live chat, and ad services receive a request from the host page to retrieve some file or information, through which they assign a cookie to the user at the same time. 

Since the entire process is invisible to the naked eye, information is exchanged between companies without any due recognition of the user. 

 

The Google & Apple Move

Apple’s SKAdNetwork and Google Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox are a proactive effort to stop third-party cookies across different websites. In fact, Apple has gone a step further with its iOS 14.5 update that requires users to opt-in for IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) collection by advertisers. 

Although this does put the entire intent of the internet-based conglomerates on the backburner, it is expected to reduce the unsolicited access that mobile developers have today. 

Amid the paradigm shift, Amazon intends to create its own identifier to allow publishers and advertisers better track all activity with the ads ecosystem. 

 

What You Must Know While Developing a Website

More often than not, web development is routed through an agency that promises the moon and the stars. While design and content are of paramount importance, data privacy concerns should not be taken lightly. 

When hiring an agency, you must make sure these factors are considered – 

  1. Figuring out which data protection laws apply to your company
  2. Creation of data privacy policy that explicitly states the collection, utilization, and storage of consumer data
  3. Implementation of cybersecurity frameworks and data privacy auditing processes
  4. Option to conduct internal audits on a regular basis
  5. Detailed record maintenance of all compliance activities

Data Privacy and Your Website

With information being exchanged faster than the speed of light, data protection and privacy shall be what sets you apart from the rest. 

The privacy policy is no more an obvious matter that simply sits at the footer of the website. As the owner, you are required to include all the key evidence about how a consumer’s data is being managed. 

The clearer the wordings are, the better you’re protected from undue fines and penalties. 

Nevertheless, no matter how mature your company is, a compliance program that shields your client’s data holds your bottom line, and builds trust within the community is a prerequisite. 

Data Privacy Regulations for New Websites
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