This article was published on February 28, 2012

Iubenda makes it easier than ever to generate privacy policies, no legal knowledge needed.

Iubenda makes it easier than ever to generate privacy policies, no legal knowledge needed.
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

We’re barely into 2012, and we’ve already had our fair share of huge privacy related issues – from Google’s new privacy policy creating waves to the Path contacts debacle. The launch of privacy policy generator Iubenda today couldn’t have been timed better.

The Italy-based site aims to make life easier for site owners when it comes to creating privacy policies, while also keeping the end-user’s best interest at heart.

Iubenda, the brainchild of Andrea Giannangelo, is the first platform to completely automate the privacy policy process, allowing users to generate a ready-made and embeddable policy for your site. The site, which has been in private beta up until now, already has 4,000 people on its waiting list, and with its 300 beta testers and their 400 privacy policies generating 5 million page views.

The Next Web caught up with the 22-year-old founder to find out more about Iubenda, and about the driving force behind creating the site.

The Problem with Privacy Policies

Designing sites from the young age of 10, a few years ago Andrea found himself asking why no one has addressed the issue of writing privacy policies, simplifying it for designers, leaving them to focus on the more important task of designing.

The past three years have been spent putting together the perfect team, figuring out how to make the product work, as well as going through a round of seed funding. Iubenda, Andrea tells us, has received funding from some of Italy’s top seed investors.

Taking a look at the current method used to create privacy policies, Andrea sees several problems. He explains, “Many websites have copy-and-paste policies or no privacy policy at all; this means they are risking fines. If you build websites for someone else and you don’t provide the privacy policy (or a bad one) you’re putting your reputation at risk with your client. It’s such a shame that privacy policies have to be so unreadable, yet sit in the footer of every website in the world.”

How Iubenda Fixes the Problem

You might be surprised to find that when studying privacy policies and the way in which apps or sites interact with your personal information, Facebook’s app authorization was a source of inspiration for Iubenda. As Andrea explains in an elaborate blog post, all the information a user needs is there at a glance, is easy to understand and allows users to make an informed decision.

With Iubenda, Andrea aims to fix the Privacy Policy by narrowing it down to two pages, “One for readability, and one for compliance,” he explains. “I’ve seen very few well written privacy policies in my life, and I’m not talking about usability, I refer to law compliance. Most policies completely miss the ‘third party services’ side.” In other words, existing privacy policies often fail to let users know about the way in which these tools are gathering information about them.

Andrea gives us some examples, “Google Analytics, Google Adsense, or even the Like Button, are tracking them and collecting personal data,” and Iubenda, as a platform addresses these issues – giving the end user complete transparency and putting the developer or designer out of legal harm’s way.

What Should be Included in a Privacy Policy?

The essential aspects are addressed by Iubenda’s policy. It informs users about the personal data collected, informs them how that data is used, and informs users which third party services are involved. While many privacy policies might contain the majority of that information, it’s practically impossible to find without trawling through pages of text that sounds like it needs to be decoded.

Iubenda’s privacy polices are short, accessible, standardized and written in plain easy-to-understand language, while being completely legally compliant.

With such a sensitive issue, users are placing their faith, and legal matters, in the hands of a third party service. So how do we know that Iubenda’s policy’s is legally sound?

Andrea says, “One of the founders comes from one of the top law firms in the world, Freshfields. We also involved other privacy professionals to review our policy and the way we generate it. We’ll keep doing this in the future to offer the best result possible, and since the policy is hosted on our servers we’ll be able to seamlessly delivery these changes to every website which is using our product.”

How to Generate a Privacy Policy

So how does the service work? The first step is to enter your website URL and add all of the services that access your site or app – whether analtyics-related, comment-related, social applications and more. Facebook, Clicky, Disqus and Google Analytics are just a few of the pre-populated options, while also giving you the chance to create custom entries.

Next you can enter the name and contact information of the site owner. At that point you can register for an Iubenda account, or login if you already have one.  You will then receive the embed code for the privacy policy button, or you can simply link to the policy if you prefer. Privacy policies are currently available in English and Italian.

The policy is hosted by Iubenda, and clicking the link opens up a gorgeous, minimalist list of items that you’ve added in the setup process. And the way that Iubenda’s privacy policy has been designed makes it a sleek and suitable option for any site, regardless of your site’s design.

Andrea says, “We challenged ourselves to make the policy look design-agnostic, and the result can be seamlessly integrated with any website’s visual design and experience,” adding “We’ll continue to work on this path to make our policies completely customizable.”

Users have the option of signing up for a free or pro account on Iubenda. The free account includes only four services in your privacy policy, and you can’t make any custom additions to the policy. The free option is also branded with Iubenda’s logo.

The pro account, normally priced at $27 a year per policy, gives users custom additions and no Iubenda branding. For its launch, Iubenda is offering users the chance to sign up for a pro-account at half the normal price, for just $13.50. The special offer will only be available for the first three days, but early adopters will receive the discount on an annual basis.

Iubenda is an elegant option for designers, developers and startups who want to focus on creating and developing their service, while leaving the legal speak to the experts. With its ease of use, reliable team, and beautifully minimalist design, it’s a sleek option for anyone looking to provide a completely transparent experience for their users, without losing them in pages of convoluted legalese.

➤ Iubenda

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