Drafting of privacy policies for internet services and websites

As commerce increasingly migrates to the digital realm year by year, the inexorable trend towards online business operations continues to accelerate. It is imperative for proprietors of digital platforms, whether they host informational or e-commerce websites, to recognize that regulatory frameworks governing traditional business and user data equally apply to online environments. Specifically, this includes adherence to personal data protection laws that are applicable to information society services. The Internet, by its very nature, is a comprehensive global network comprising countless interconnected computer systems and devices that exchange information through standardized communication protocols. An “information society service” is defined as any service normally provided remotely for remuneration, upon request of a recipient, and delivered through electronic means.

Visitors to a website, who may engage with offerings of goods or services—or simply access information—are, under legal statutes, considered users of information society services. Despite a common misconception among developers and owners of web services that they do not process personal information due to the non-disclosure of visitor identities, the reality is quite the contrary. Any piece of information that can potentially reveal a user’s identity through indirect means, such as cross-referencing or algorithmic analysis, is classified as personal data under the law. It is crucial for users of internet services to be informed whether their personal details are being collected and processed, the legal basis for such activities, and the purposes thereof. They must also be aware of whether their information is accessible to third parties, the identity of any contracted data processors, the rights of the data subjects, and the mechanisms available for exercising these rights.

Privacy policies are not generic documents that can be indiscriminately replicated from one service to another. Each website—or indeed, each commercial operation conducted via online platforms—constitutes a unique entity that necessitates a bespoke policy, crafted with meticulous care by specialists. Although privacy policies may appear superficially similar, reflecting a broadly consistent format, their content can differ significantly. It is highly improbable that two disparate web services would manage, process, and store data identically and to the same extent.