Monday, July 7, 2008

Google Responds To Privacy Critics with Link To Policy

A few weeks ago we (CFC) joined with executives from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the World Privacy Forum, Consumer Action, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, and sent a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt expressing our concern over the company's failure to post a home page link to its privacy policy.

Google's reluctance to post the link on its home page was alarming. Namely because California law is unequivocal on the subject, as it requires the operator of a commercial Web site that collects personal information about users to “conspicuously post its privacy policy on its Web site.”

The reason this issue, which appears to be rather meaningless at first glance, matters is because Google collects and retains so much information about so many people. What would it say about the future of privacy protection if one of the biggest corporate players of the information age simply refused to do what all other websites in California do: include a privacy policy!

I'm happy to report that our request was respected and Google has agreed to link their privacy policy on their home page!

Here's the article from Sci-Tech on today's exciting turn of events:

To appease privacy advocates, Google has added a privacy-policy link to its home page. Google had previously said it didn't want to clutter its page.


"We felt that Google not only violated California law -- and keep in mind that Google is a California corporation -- but that Google was also violating standard practice for all Internet companies by not posting a link to the privacy policy on the home page," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC.


"We added this link both to our home page and to our results page to make it easier for you to find information about our privacy principles," Mayer wrote on The Official Google Blog. "The new privacy link goes to our Privacy center, which was revamped earlier this year to be more straightforward and approachable, with videos and a non-legalese overview to make sure you understand in basic terms what Google does, does not, will, and won't do in regard to your personal information."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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