Google Posts a Link to Its Privacy Policy from Its Home Page

Consumer and Privacy Groups Urge Google to Post a Link to Its Privacy Policy from Its Home Page

On July 3, 2008, Google made an important change to its home page. It added a new link from the home page to its privacy center. Google’s privacy center contains its privacy policy, privacy overview, and privacy videos.

All of Google's products and services are governed by its main privacy policy, which explains how they treat personal information. Additional pages describe privacy practices specific to certain Google products or services.

According to Google, the new privacy link fits best with the legal disclaimers that were already appearing on its home page. Therefore, they looked to the copyright line and dropped the word "Google" (realizing it was implied) and added the new privacy link alongside it.

With that one seven-letter word, Google resolves the controversy over whether its previous practice ran afoul of California privacy law. The California Online Privacy Act of 2003 is widely interpreted to require the operator of a commercial web site that collects personal information to provide a link to its privacy policy from its home page.

Last month a coalition of privacy and consumer organizations from California to Washington, D.C., (including Privacy Rights Clearinghouse) urged Google to post a prominent link on its home page to its privacy policy. In a letter released June 3rd, 2008, these groups stated this is required by California law and is the widespread practice of commercial web sites.

Google’s addition of the privacy policy link comes exactly 31 days from the date of the letter. Under California law, a company has a 30-day time limit to post a privacy policy once it has been notified of its noncompliance.

For more information about the California Online Privacy Protection of 2003, visit:

To read the joint news alert from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Electronic Privacy Information Center, and World Privacy Forum., click here. The alert also includes the letter sent to Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt which was signed by more than a dozen privacy and civil liberties organizations in the U.S.