Privacy advocates praise Google's new link
Company's decision to add a link to its home page that leads to its Privacy Center is enough to quell a controversy.
Updated at 12:35 p.m. and 3:50 p.m.: Comments from privacy advocates have been added.
Google apparently decided to keep it clean, in more ways than one.
The attempt succeeded.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Saturday that his group is "pleased" with the decision.
"This was not only required by California law (and Google is a California corporation) but is also the standard practice for commercial Web sites," he said in an e-mail.
Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, also welcomed Google's decision.
"Although privacy policies are not a guarantee of perfect privacy practices, they are still an important tool for consumers," she said Saturday in an e-mail. Dixon added that such links are "something consumers have come to expect, and rightly so given that it is a standard practice."
The timing of Google's announcement--the afternoon before a long holiday weekend--may have appeared suspicious to some. But Rotenberg noted that his group "helped draw attention to the 30-day time limit in the California law following notice. We literally counted to 30 after sending the letter. Day 31 arrived and Google posted the link."
Privacy advocates formal letter on June 3 (PDF). Google had maintained that it was doing nothing unlawful., sending Google a
Google competitors Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com, by the way, all provide links to their privacy policies on their home pages.
A couple of side notes: Google Vice President Marissa Mayer noted in the corporate blog that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin required the famously sparse home page to remain clean at 28 words, even with the change. Thus, the company removed the word "Google" from the copyright line and replaced it with "Privacy." Also her blog's title--"What comes next in this series? 13, 33, 53, 61, 37, 28..."--was remarkably obscure.