Privacy Policy Examples, Templates, Generators and How to Write Them

Privacy PolicyAnyone doing business online should have a privacy policy clearly posted on their website. This policy serves as protection for visitors. The privacy policy outlines what personally identifiable information the site collects and what the site does with that information.

What is a Privacy Policy and How Does It Differ From Terms of Use?

A privacy policy is not the same as a Terms of Use document. Terms of use, which are legally binding unless they violate the law, state what the visitor may or may not do on the site. Terms of use lay out the expected behavior of the visitor, and make clear what is expected of site visitors. An example of this is sites declaring that no one below a certain age may use the site.
A privacy policy, on the other hand, explains the site’s use of information and informs site visitors what they can expect when they give personal information to the site.
Privacy policies explain what information is collected. This includes information provided to the site when signing for the mailing list or newsletter, information collected by the site through cookies, and any information collected under HIPAA.
A privacy policy also explains what is done with this information. If information is shared, rented or sold, this must be disclosed in the privacy statement.

How to Write a Privacy Policy

One way to write a privacy policy is to use a sample or privacy policy creator. These tools are helpful in creating a privacy policy, but should be used only as a beginning. Any privacy policy should be edited and personalized to the company issuing it.
The first step in writing a privacy policy is to identify the categories of personally identifiable information which will be collected. This may include name, address, email, contact information and medical information protected by HIPAA. Each piece of information collected by the site should be named in the policy. A visitor reading the privacy policy should know exactly what information the site collects.
If the site allows consumers to view and change the information on file about them, explain this in the privacy policy. Instructions on how to view and edit personal information should be clear and easy to follow.
Explain very clearly how information is used by the site. When using a privacy policy creator, be sure to review this section and edit it as necessary. Whether information is collected through signup for a mailing list or newsletter, through cookies or by email, the uses of the information should be made clear. If information is shared with third parties, the privacy policy must explain why and when information is shared.
The final paragraphs of a privacy policy should explain how consumers can learn about future changes to the privacy policy, and identify the privacy policy’s effective date.
Creating a privacy policy is basically a matter of following a particular formula and filling in the necessary information. Privacy policies are less complicated than contracts and can often be created using samples or generators. The resources below will be helpful in creating a privacy policy.

Free Privacy Policy Templates

Templates, or samples, allow site owners to start with a sample privacy policy and build on it to create a customized privacy policy. These samples are generally not specific to any site, but are provided merely as an example for creating a policy. offers a privacy policy sample with very clear instructions for completing each section:’s privacy policy can be downloaded in Word format. asks for a link back to their site:
FreeNetLaw offers a comprehensive privacy policy including sections on other websites and cross-border data transfer:
UK businesses can use the privacy policy form
Website Law also offers a privacy policy for use in England and Wales:
PowerDMS provides policy statements in Word format:
Surf Safety Net offers a simple but complete privacy policy on their website:

Free Privacy Policy Generators

Privacy policy generators, or creators, allow site owners to plug in their information and receive a privacy policy tailored for their site. Sites created by generators should still be reviewed carefully for accuracy. provides a privacy policy generator that customizes the policy to the site:
AdSense publishers may want to use the Adsense-specific privacy policy generation tool at:
Ben Nadel provides a generator for a “generic Terms of Service and Privacy Policy”:
Legal River’s website will generate a privacy policy for any site: generates a standard privacy policy/terms of use for a website:
Privacy Policy Online creates privacy policies compatible with the major affiliate sites including CommissionJunction and AdSense: offers a privacy policy generator as part of their suite of web tools:
Every website should have a privacy policy. If no information is collected, the privacy policy should say this.

Why is it so crucial to have a policy?

Many affiliate programs, including AdSense, will not accept sites without a privacy policy. Many consumers will also not do business with a site unless they can read a privacy policy.
Having a policy also serves as protection against spam and other complaints from users. By making everything clear and following the policy, a site avoids many nasty interactions which could result in the absence of a good privacy policy.


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