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No privacy policy? Google says you need one

Thursday, 29 May 2014 | By Vanessa Emilio

If you use any of Google’s services for your website and don’t have a privacy policy, you could be banished from the Google service.


Most people don’t read the Terms of Use or Terms and Conditions of most products or services before they purchase. But if you use any of Google’s many products or services, you really should read their terms of service to make sure you are not breaching their terms.


What exactly is a privacy policy and why would I need one?


A privacy policy is a statement that discloses what personal information a website collects and how it collects, uses and stores it. When you use Google services and under Google’s terms, it is your privacy notification requirement to tell website visitors what external service you are using and what information is being collected as part of your use of this Google service.


Alarmingly, privacy policies are missing from websites that actually do collect personal data from visitors and users of their website. It’s a legal requirement for many Australian websites, and for Google service users, but have you got one? If you don’t and if Google’s service requires it, you may be taken off Google’s search engine results page.


When does Google say I need one?


When you use any of the Google services, most of their terms require it. For example, under section 7 of Google Analytics Terms of Service, it states that all websites using this service must have a comprehensive privacy policy. It states that you must disclose that you are using cookies to collect the data and state that you are using Google’s services, such as Google Analytics.


There are numerous Google services that include the privacy policy requirement in their terms of use, including AdSense, AdWords, Maps/Google Earth. In other words, if you include a map of your business location on your website, according to Google’s terms, you are using one of Google’s services that require you to have a privacy policy.


Does it matter that the Google Terms of Service are US terms?


No, you agree to their terms as you are using their services. It does not matter where you are located. They can and do dictate where and what terms you must agree to in order to access and use their services. This includes the google.com.au Australian site which states that any litigation which they can require you to exclusively litigate is to be conducted in a Santa Clara, California, US court of law.


Google is not the only reason to include a privacy policy on your website…


A privacy policy not only gives visitors and users of your website comfort that you are aware of and respect the security of any information you may access when they use your site, but it’s a best practice measure for any internet business.


And Google services are not the only ones that require privacy policies, there are others too. Check out the Clicktale website and read their terms. Or any other service you may want to use – you may be surprised.