GDPR And The Importance Of A Terms Of Use Policy For Your Website

GDPR And The Importance Of A Terms Of Use Policy For Your Website
Even putting GDPR aside for a minute it is a pretty great idea to have a Terms of Use Policy on your website to inform visitors of the obligations and responsibilities they must adhere to when using your site.

In the same way as a physical business premises has a disclaimer informing visitors of the conditions they accept once they enter the premises, your website Terms of Use Policy also places them under notice.

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What Should Be in Your Terms Of Use Policy

A good terms of use policy should consider every way a visitor might use your website, with a specific eye towards how your site may be misused. Essentially this policy can make it clear that your website has a specific aim and function and that it can not be used in a way that is outside of your terms of use.

It’s a good idea to break down your terms of use into specific sections, with each section having its own heading and a clear explanation of what is covered by this term. There are some schools of thought, that for purposes of GDPR, purpose that this information also needs to be presented in a very specific way through the use of an Accordion style set up. For an example of how this looks you can view my Terms of Use for this website.

Every website is unique to the business that operates it, and while most websites can be covered by some blanket Terms of Use, these should always be checked to ensure they apply to your website before you add them in. Considering your own business it is also then a good idea to add in other terms that may specifically apply to your particular website.

This Policy can also inform viewers that using the website means that they agree with some of their data being collected and used, but it is best then to refer them to your privacy and cookie policies for more details.

Where as your Privacy and Cookie Policies cover how you treat your viewers privacy and data, your Terms of Use policy puts your viewer on notice that you expect your privacy and data to be treated with the same level of respect and due diligence. In other wrods this is where you get to say, “Thanks for visiting, you’re most welcome, but please be good and respectful and do not leave a mess”.

For demonstration purposes here are some headings which you might consider adding to a Terms of Use Policy, again this is by no means a definitive list and can be added to and subtracted from as best suits the website it is being posted to.

  1. Terms of website use
  2. Information about us
  3. Accessing our site
  4. Re-use of Information
  5. Reliance on information posted
  6. Our site changes regularly
  7. Our liability
  8. Information about you and visits to our site
  9. Viruses, hacking and other offenses
  10. Linking to our site
  11. Use of contact information available on this site
  12. Links from our site
  13. Jurisdiction and applicable law
  14. Variations
  15. Your concerns

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when drafting your Terms of Use Policy and it is always a good idea to get the advice of a legal or Data Protection professional when drafting up any policy that applies to your business practices.

This has been the first of my Five Blog posts on actions you can take to at least show that a determined effort has been made to make your website GDPR compliant. As I publish the next four I will make them available below, so be sure to keep checking back to see them, or better still get links to them sent directly to your inbox by signing up to my mailing list.

If you have found this post useful and informative please free to share it with others so that they may get the benefit of it also. If you would like help to put your website on the path to GDPR compliance then please do not hesitate to get in touch, I would be more than happy to help you out.

Disclaimer: GDPR is a serious topic and can have financial & legal ramifications for business owners that do not correctly comply. As I am not a legal professional I make no claim that this article or subsequent articles definitively covers everything that website owners should know, as such I would highly recommend that you do further research on the topic and seek legal advice should you deem it necessary. You should not rely on the contents of this article as legal proof of anything and I accept no responsibility or liability for its accuracy.

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