Website privacy disclosure: Google isn’t doing its part

September 13, 2010

Brad Geddes at Search Engine Land reports that based on his own review of  several hundred websites, a huge proportion are failing to provide the privacy disclosures required by Google’s own rules, including for targeting practices like remarketing and interest-based advertising.

Of the sites he reviewed:

  • More than 90% were breaking at least one of Google’s policies
  • More than 65% were breaking at least two of Google’s policies
  • More than 40% were breaking at least three of Google’s policies

It’s interesting but not surprising that websites aren’t following through on disclosure requirements, when left to their own to do so. No doubt Google has the resources and the technical prowess to automate this process to do a much better job. And no doubt that as a member of the Network Advertising Initiative, Google has an independent requirement to follow-through on publisher disclosure (a principle the NAI reaffirmed earlier this year).

More worrisome: If Google isn’t doing much to ensure publisher disclosures, why should we believe that Google is actually on top of back-end privacy compliance by the scores of third-party ad networks that now have access to user behavior on millions of websites in the Adsense network?

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