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Generic Privacy Policy Template + What to Look Out For

Looking for a generic privacy policy template? There are a few things you need to take into consideration before doing so!

Your privacy policy is an important document for making your website compliant with data protection laws. It also allows you to inform your users of what you do with their data. That’s why the process of creating this legal document must be taken very seriously!

👀 In this article, we walk you through some pros and cons of using a generic privacy policy for your website, so you can make an informed decision. We also give a complete example of a privacy policy.

generic privacy policy

What is a generic privacy policy?

A generic privacy policy is a standard, pre-written privacy policy that you can use as a starting point to develop your own privacy policy. These policies are often provided by website builders, for example, and can be customized to a certain extent by the organization to fit their specific needs.

They can only be used for getting started, since generic templates usually don’t include all legally-required disclosures.

👋 Not sure if you need a privacy policy?

🔍 Here are 4 reasons why you need one

And, what is a privacy policy, exactly?

A privacy policy is a legal document that outlines how you collect, use, and protect the personal information of your users. It typically includes information about:

  • the types of data collected,
  • how it is used,
  • with whom it is shared,
  • how it is protected, and
  • users rights over this data.

In addition, a comprehensive privacy policy should also address several key elements to ensure compliance and transparency. Here’s what to look out for when creating or updating your privacy policy:

Key Elements of a Privacy Policy

  • Specifics of Data Collection: Clearly define what information you collect, both directly (e.g., through forms) and indirectly (e.g., via cookies), and specify the purposes for each type of data collected.
  • Legal Basis for Processing: Especially under laws like the GDPR, explain the legal grounds for processing personal data, such as consent from the user, compliance with a legal obligation, or a legitimate interest of the website owner.
  • Data Sharing and Third-party Disclosure: Detail any circumstances under which data might be shared with third parties, including partners, service providers, and legal authorities. Specify the safeguards in place to protect data when transferring it, especially across borders.
  • Data Security Measures: Describe the technical and organizational measures you have implemented to protect user data from unauthorized access, alteration, and loss.
  • User Rights and How to Exercise Them: Enumerate the rights users have over their data, such as the right to access, correct, delete, or transfer their data, and provide clear instructions on how they can exercise these rights.
  • Use of Cookies and Tracking Technologies: If your website uses cookies or similar technologies, disclose this practice and provide details on the types of cookies used, their purposes, and how users can control or opt out of them.
  • Policy Updates and Notification Procedures: Explain how you will notify users of any changes to the privacy notice, ensuring they are always informed about how their data is used and protected.
  • Contact Information: Offer a way for users to contact you with any questions or concerns regarding privacy, including an email address, phone number, or contact form.
  • Age Restrictions and Children’s Privacy: Address the collection of data from children under the age of 13 (or the relevant age threshold in your jurisdiction), and describe measures to obtain parental consent and protect children’s privacy.
  • International Data Transfers: For organizations operating across borders, describe how you comply with international data protection laws (like the GDPR or the CCPA/CPRA), including mechanisms like Privacy Shield certification or standard contractual clauses for data transfer outside the European Economic Area.

💡 More info on what should be in your privacy policy here.

Generic privacy policy template example

Click on the button below for an example of a privacy policy:

Privacy Policy
generic privacy policy template

🚩 Your privacy policy is an important document for your users, and is required by most data privacy laws. It is crucial for reducing the risk of fines for non-compliance or reputational damage. That’s why there are some key things to consider before using a generic privacy policy. Let’s take a look!

Is it safe to use a standard privacy policy template?

A generic privacy policy is only a starting point. It can be dangerous to rely on a standard template only, because it won’t fully reflect the specific practices of your organization.

It usually just covers general topics and provisions common to most businesses. Under the law, that’s not enough!

✅ Pros

  1. Convenience: A generic privacy policy can be an easy solution for websites that are just starting out and don’t have the resources or expertise to create a professional privacy policy;
  2. Cost-effective: You can most likely find free generic templates on the Internet.

❌ Cons

  1. Lack of customization: A privacy policy should inform users of the specific data collection practices of your organization, which technologies on your site collect data, what types of data… A generic document does not have all the legally-required information;
  2. Inaccurate information: A generic privacy policy may contain information that is not correct, or relevant to the organization or its privacy practices. Remember your privacy also needs to be up-to-date;
  3. Limited scope: A generic privacy policy may not cover all the necessary topics or provisions that are specific to your business or industry;
  4. Higher associated risks: You can never be sure generic templates have been drafted by competent lawyers, or include ALL necessary disclosures, which puts you at risk;
  5. Reduced credibility: Using a generic privacy policy may reduce the credibility of your organization, as users may see it as a lack of commitment to protecting their personal information.

After discussing the safety of using standard privacy policy templates, you might wonder, Can I use a generic privacy policy for my website? Yes, you can, but it’s not the best approach. Let’s look at why:

Can I use a generic privacy policy for my website?

Yes, but it’s not recommended. Generic privacy policies are basic templates that might not cover all the specific ways your website uses visitor data. Relying only on a generic website privacy policy can lead to legal issues because they may not meet all legal requirements. To avoid potential legal problems, we strongly recommend creating a customized privacy policy that reflects your website’s unique practices.

So, it’s also crucial to address another common concern:

Is it illegal to copy a privacy policy?

Yes, copying someone else’s privacy policy can be illegal and is generally not advisable.

Privacy policies are specific legal documents that reflect how a particular website collects, uses, and manages user data. When you copy a privacy policy from another site, you risk using a document that doesn’t accurately represent your site’s data practices, which could lead to legal issues and a breach of trust with your users. It’s essential to create a privacy policy tailored to your website’s operations to ensure compliance with data protection laws and to accurately inform your users about their data rights and your responsibilities.

Custom Privacy Policy for Website vs. Generic Privacy Policy for Website: A Comparison Chart

Aspect Custom Privacy Policy for Website Generic Privacy Policy for Website
Customizing Privacy Policy fully customized to your website’s specific data practices. Generic privacy policy template with limited customization.
Legal Compliance Ensures full compliance with applicable data protection laws. May not fully comply with all specific legal requirements.
Specific Practices Includes detailed information on your unique data collection, use, and sharing. Lacks details on specific data handling practices unique to your site.
Cost More affordable with the use of a privacy policy generator, though may vary based on complexity. Lower or free
Time and Effort Reduced time and effort with a generator, Privacy Policy Generators for Website are usually designed to be user-friendly. Less time and effort required initially, but as the generic privacy policy template is free, malfunctions and support can delay the process.
Risk of Legal Issues Significantly reduced, as it is specifically designed to meet legal requirements. Higher, due to potential inaccuracies and omissions.
Credibility with Users Enhances, as it shows commitment to data protection. May reduce, as it may appear less trustworthy to users.

As you can see, the cons clearly outweigh the pros. For protecting your business from potential legal liabilities, we strongly recommend creating a customized privacy policy, adapted to your unique situation.

💡 Creating a professional privacy policy for a website or app doesn’t have to be complicated, despite the abundance of information! Here’s how to create a privacy policy for website or app in under 5 minutes ⬇️

With iubenda’s Privacy and Cookie Policy Generator, it’s easier than you think!

  • 🚀 Scan your site with our Site Scanner;
  • 🚀 Select and add all the relevant clauses specific to your website (i.e. Google Analytics, social media widgets…);
  • 🚀 Generate your privacy policy in one click (all clauses are pre-drafted by lawyers);
  • 🚀 Copy and paste the code to add the document to your website’s footer;
  • 🚀 Update your document whenever it is needed (required by law).

Create your custom privacy policy

Generate your free privacy policy