Disclaimer vs Privacy Policy. What is the difference?

Most people think that privacy policies and disclaimers are the same. They are not. Although both are important statements that outline the policies of a website, there are key differences between the two. This article aims at eradicating this confusion and highlights all the differences between a disclaimer vs privacy policy.

Both privacy policies and disclaimers can be drafted by hiring a lawyer who understands how to form these legal agreements and avoid any legal issues. Moreover, websites like LegalPages also offer expert help to create disclaimers and privacy policies of several kinds at minimal fees, saving both time and effort on your part.

Differences Between Disclaimers And Privacy Policies

Even though the purpose of both a privacy policy and a disclaimer is similar, they still should not be confused as being the same. The differences between the two are listed below:

Definition Based Difference

A privacy policy is a detailed agreement between the user and the website, declaring how a website handles and transmits personal and sensitive data collected from users during their visit. It is also known as a “Deed of Trust” between the two parties.

In contrast, disclaimers are general statements that announce the limitations of the services offered by the website. The following are the most common types of disclaimers:

  • Shipping or Return Policy Disclaimers
  • Limitation of Liabilities
  • Disclaimer of Warranty
  • Third-Party Services
  • Legal/Medical Disclaimers

Obligations by Law

If your website intends to utilize its user’s data for any purposes whatsoever, then you need to inform them about it prior to the data retrieval. The law requires you to form a privacy policy that mentions that your site would be using said data for the stated purpose. If your website does not collect user data, then you do not need to have a privacy policy in place.

The law also requires the user to agree to the policy outlined for them to complete their visit to the particular page.

If you want to operate your website in countries like the USA, Canada, and Argentina, having a well-defined privacy policy is a prerequisite. As for websites operating within the European Union, for them to become GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant, they need a privacy policy.

Holding a website without such an agreement is a crime in these countries, and if websites without an effective policy in place are identified, they can be legally challenged.

As for the disclaimer, the site owner is not bound by any legal obligation to display one on their site. It is entirely up to their choice to display it or not. However, to remain on the safe side, and to avoid any liability, displaying one would be a wise choice.

Difference in Purposes

A privacy policy informs the site’s visitors and users of the many ways the site would be using their personal and sensitive data. It mentions the purpose and application of the data used and acquired.

The document serves the interests of the users by informing them of their rights and reassuring them that their data is safe with the company and won’t be shared with third parties.

Organizations or individuals should always refer to an enterprise’s privacy policy before conducting any business with them. This allows them the peace of mind of knowing that the organization is willing to go to lengths to protect their data and establishes a sense of trust between them.

Hence, a clear and concise privacy policy outlining important steps the organization is willing to take to protect customers’ data will go a long way in helping it turn visitors into long-term clients.

On the other hand, the purpose of a disclaimer is to simply inform the user that the website holds no liability if any unfortunate event takes place. Also, if any harm occurs the organization is not to blame.

Management of Responsibilities

A privacy policy gives its users a clear picture of how a website uses the collected data. However, if a user claims any sort of misuse of their information, the site owner has every right to display their privacy policy stating the way their data was promised to be used. This will ensure that the site owner remains free from liabilities regarding the user’s data usage.

However, a disclaimer is a kind of announcement that displays that your site holds no responsibility for the information and resources displayed to the user. It also warns visitors that they can proceed to utilize services offered at their own discretion. They also prevent users from claiming any liability from the site.

Placement on the Website

Usually, websites dedicate a separate page to their privacy policies and terms and conditions. Privacy policies should be separate from all other agreements and accessible through all web pages of the site.

As for disclaimers, they are usually part of the Terms and Conditions section of the website or are placed in the footer of the homepage. They do not need to be present on every web page or accessible via links.

Conclusion

Despite being different, both disclaimers and privacy policies ensure your site gains legal protection. They also help you operate your website with accountability and transparency, which helps you avoid falling prey to any legal repercussions and earn the trust of users on your site.

One should opt for both the Disclaimer and Privacy Policy to ensure the optimum experience.

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