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Privacy Policy vs. Privacy Notice: What’s the Difference

Published October 17, 2022 / Updated January 29, 2024

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Since the implementation of data privacy laws, websites must abide by constantly evolving rules that demand transparency about how they collect, process, and retain users’ personal data. Most data privacy laws now mandate that websites keep their privacy notices and policies updated and incorporate various information and transparency requirements within them to comply with the law.

But what are the differences between privacy policies and privacy notices? Let's explore their contrasts in more detail.

What is a Privacy Policy?

According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), a Privacy Policy is an internal statement governing an organization’s personal data handling.

A privacy policy is directed towards employees or internal actors within a data controller or processor who might handle or make decisions regarding users’ personal data - instructing them on collecting, using, storing, and destroying the data in the correct and compliant way and informing them about any specific rights the data subjects (users) may have that could be exercised.

A privacy policy also develops mechanisms to ensure internal enforcement of an organization’s privacy posture and may have a system of checks and balances (including penalties) to ensure compliance.

Why Do You Need a Privacy Policy?

Laws protecting consumer privacy are multiplying and becoming more demanding. Customers and business partners now demand detailed information on how businesses handle and protect their customers’ personal data. These are some of the reasons why you need a privacy policy:

  • Data privacy laws (GDPR, CCPA, and others),
  • Third-Party applications,
  • Builds customer confidence,
  • Displays transparency,
  • Exhibits security posture,
  • To avoid non-compliance penalties,
  • Analytics apps and marketing tools,
  • Ensure correct data handling by employees,
  • Develops internal checks and balances, and
  • Reduces risk of a data breach.

What is a Privacy Notice?

Privacy Notice is externally focused. It tells customers, regulators, and other stakeholders what the organization does with the personal information it collects from data subjects. It answers questions about the types of personal data processed, the lawful basis for processing personal data, and the data being transferred to third parties to fulfill the transparency obligations it has under most privacy laws.

As per most privacy laws, a privacy notice must also tell users how long the organization will store their data, the user’s rights in relation to the collected data, and the contact information of the organization’s privacy teams.

A privacy notice is sometimes referred to as a privacy statement or a fair processing statement or, ironically, as a privacy policy as well. Laws such as GLBA and COPPA in the United States also mandate special privacy notices to be provided by covered entities.

Why Do You Need a Privacy Notice?

Through a privacy notice, website visitors learn about their digital rights, how their personal data will be collected and processed, and how they can exercise their consent preferences, such as opt-out. The posting of a privacy notice and making it readily visible to visitors are both required by digital privacy laws.

What Does a Privacy Notice Include?

A typical privacy policy includes the following:

  • A list and description of personal data collected by you,
  • The source of that personal data,
  • Why did you collect it,
  • How it is collected,
  • Who else has access to it and whether it will be shared or sold to any third parties,
  • The processors to whom it is shared with,
  • The third parties who it is sold to,
  • The rights that users have over their data,
  • How can users exercise those rights,
  • Your contact information,
  • How do you store the data and for how long, and
  • Links to other policies on your website (cookie policy, terms of service).

Key Differences Between Privacy Policy & Privacy Notice

Privacy Policy vs. Privacy Notice
  • Internally focused on informing employees of their obligations regarding the handling of personal information of data subjects collected and processed by the organization.
  • Scope: Defines the type of personal data & the applicable stakeholders to whom the policy applies.
  • Policy Statement: Defines the behavior expected of employees and internal stakeholders when handling personal data.
  • Enforcement Mechanisms: Consequences for employees and internal stakeholders due to non-compliance with the policy.
  • Defined internal procedures, methods, and standards for issues such as data security, data destruction, data subject rights requests, etc.
  • Internal contact/point person to answer questions or concerns of internal stakeholders.
  • The effective date of the privacy policy

Core Audience: Internal employees with access to or manage the data. A Privacy Policy will have more operational detail on how employees should handle personal data. Develop privacy policies and update them according to the latest privacy regulations.

  • Externally focused on informing customers, regulators, and other stakeholders about how the organization collects, uses, shares and retains the personal data it collects from data subjects.
  • Transparent disclosures to data subjects and other external stakeholders about the organization’s commitments toward the secure and legally compliant processing of personal data collected from data subjects.
  • Commitments made therein are enforceable by regulators as binding promises made to data subjects at the time of collecting of data.
  • Must provide contact details and mechanisms for data subjects to exercise their privacy/data rights as per applicable data privacy laws.
  • Must be constantly updated as per the data processing practices of the organization.

Core Audience: External users, customers, and regulators. A Privacy Notice has more information and descriptions about data, user rights, data sharing policies, etc. Privacy Notices are typically built on privacy policies.

Which One Should I Put On My Website?

Your privacy notice is the most significant privacy document you should have on your website. Your visitors will learn about their rights and how their personal data will be collected and used from the privacy notice.

The posting of a privacy notice and making it readily visible to visitors are both required by many data privacy laws as well.

How to Create Privacy Policy, Notice, or Statement

There are three significant ways to develop any privacy disclosure: by employing a managed solution, a template, or starting from scratch.

Managed Solution

The task of creating legally valid privacy notices and policies is handled for you by managed solutions. The managed solution will consider your company's needs before producing and posting a privacy notice that conforms with all applicable legislation.

Use a Template

Use a template if you'd like more control over your policy. By starting with a template for a privacy policy, you can modify it to meet your specific requirements. With a template, you don't have to create the privacy policy from the start, so you don't have to be concerned about doing anything new and violating data privacy laws.


You have the option to create your privacy notice or policy from scratch if you so choose. To ensure that you include all the legally necessary information, you should use reliable sources while writing.

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Where Do You Need to Publish Privacy Notice, Policy, or Statement?

The footer of your website, the menus of mobile apps, and other places where you ask users to provide personal information, such as e-commerce checkout pages and email newsletter sign-up forms, are all excellent places to link to your Privacy Policy.

Your website should prominently display your privacy statement or notice. You can publish it by creating a page just for the announcement by:

  • Including a pop-up link to the page,
  • Including a sizable, noticeable link on the home page,
  • Adding a privacy notice footer,
  • Adding a link to the menus of mobile apps.

It's not necessary to make your privacy policy available to the public. However, it ought to be simple for your staff to access. Ensure that the document is accessible to every employee who interacts with client data using tools like:

  • Posting the privacy policy on your staff’s internal portal,
  • Adding the policy to the shared cloud drives' main folder,
  • Emailing the policy to every employee.

Dynamic vs. Static Privacy Notice Strategy

A dynamic privacy notice is generally defined as a constantly up-to-date and current document. On the other hand, a static privacy notice refers to a notice that is immobile or fixed.

This demarcation is important because, traditionally, organizations have typically used a static privacy notice method. Thus, when regulators modify privacy rules, or firms alter their data gathering procedures, the notices must be updated accordingly.

To update dynamic privacy notices, privacy officers must work with various internal stakeholders, acquire information about their data processing and cookie activities, and update privacy notices to maintain compliance. Most privacy officers use manual techniques like evaluations, documents, or emails to gather data from their assets and data processing activities. It can be tiresome and time-consuming to track hundreds of these assessments (one for each corporate entity).

Additionally, the surveys and assessments become outdated when new data features are introduced. This is because many departments in large corporations gather and use personal data for various purposes and it is quite common for different teams and products to use the data for different or new reasons within the enterprise. For example, marketing teams frequently update websites with new code to monitor user interaction, product preferences, website performance indicators, etc. When a user first visits a website, these tracking codes, sometimes called "cookies," are downloaded to their computers. Marketing teams might also use the personal data gathered from one activity for new marketing activities etc. Consequently, companies must continuously check their websites for new cookies and update their privacy notices to reflect these additions.

Therefore, it’s no secret that updating static privacy policies regularly can be exceedingly difficult, time-consuming and risky for organizations in today’s dynamic and fast data driven economic environment which is strictly regulated by watchful privacy regulators.

Why Modern Organizations Need to Have a Dynamic Privacy Notice Strategy

Dynamic privacy notices utilize technology, automation and data intelligence to provide automated updates to privacy notices to reflect the changes in data processing activities and data usage in an organization. They also are responsive to regulatory changes and developments such as when privacy laws are amended or new requirements are enforced.

Dynamic privacy notices have the capability to sync with automated privacy tools such automated data mapping and monitoring capabilities, cookie scanners, dynamic DSR intake forms to pre-populate or import the most updated information of an organization’s data processing activities and other important information and update it within a privacy notice without the need for labor and time intensive manual assessment.

Given the fast paced nature of data driven innovations in today’s industry and the plethora of unique privacy laws and regulations popping up in every jurisdiction which are being strictly enforced by regulators - organizations need to shift from time intensive, error-prone and costly static privacy notice strategy to a dynamic one to avoid the risk of non-compliance.

How Does Securiti Help?

Securiti’s Privacy Policy & Notice Management integrates with Cookie Consent, Data Mapping, Universal Preference Center, and Data Subject Rights to dynamically update privacy policies or notices and comply with the region’s governing regulations.

The solution also enables organizations to:

  • Publish privacy notices in minutes using pre-built templates, simplifying the entire process and ensuring consistency.
  • Centralize management by tracking and monitoring privacy notices across multiple systems.
  • Accelerate the periodic review process by quickly scanning the websites, detecting new cookies, and dynamically updating the privacy policy or notice.
  • Native integration with Securiti’s privacy-ops platform keeps notices up-to-date.

Large enterprises increasingly need a solution to automate scanning, data discovery, and streamlining privacy rules or notices. Additionally, businesses increasingly need to gather personal data to personalize marketing campaigns and increase client loyalty. This calls for a dynamic privacy policy strategy to assure compliance while saving time and money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No, a privacy notice and a privacy policy are not the same. A privacy notice is a concise, easily accessible document that provides individuals with key information about data processing activities, typically presented at the point of data collection. A privacy policy, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive document that details an organization's data handling practices, data protection principles, and individuals' rights related to their personal data.

A privacy policy is also commonly referred to as a "data protection policy," "privacy statement," or "privacy disclosure." These terms are often used interchangeably to describe a document that informs individuals about how their personal data is collected, processed, and protected.

A privacy notice should be provided to individuals at the time their personal data is collected. It should be easily accessible and presented in a clear and concise manner. This ensures that individuals are informed about data processing activities and their rights from the outset.

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