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    In the News: 14 Groups: Google.com Should Link to Company’s Privacy Policy

    Privacy Lives joins 13 privacy and consumer groups (including EPIC, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and World Privacy Forum) in urging Google to add a prominent link to its privacy policy on its home page. In a letter (pdf) to CEO Eric Schmidt, the groups said: 

    California law requires the operator of a commercial web site to “conspicuously post its privacy policy on its Web site.” The straightforward reading of that law is that Google must place the word “privacy” on the Google.com web page linked to its privacy policy. Moreover, just about every major company that operates a web site places a link to its privacy policy on its homepage.

    The 2003 California Online Privacy Protection Act sets out regulations for the placement of the privacy policy link, including that the policy must be “located on the homepage or first significant page after entering the Web site.” California-based Google says that it wants to keep “limited text” on its home page and will not add the single word, “privacy.”  

    At the New York Times Bits Blog, Chris Hoofnagle,* Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, gives a good explanation of why Google looks to be in violation of the California Online Privacy Protection Act.

    * Disclosure: Chris Hoofnagle and I worked together at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. 

    The groups listed on the letter are: 

    ACLU of Northern California 

    San Francisco, CA 

    Center for Digital Democracy 

    Washington, DC 

    Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights  

    Washington, DC  

    Consumer Action 

    Los Angeles, CA 

    Consumer Federation of California 

    San Mateo, CA

    Electronic Frontier Foundation 

    San Francisco, CA 

    Electronic Privacy Information Center 

    Washington, DC 

    Identity Theft Action Council of Nebraska 

    Omaha, Nebraska 

    Knowledge Ecology International 

    Washington, DC 

    Privacy Lives 

    Washington, DC 

    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse 

    San Diego, CA 

    Privacy Times 

    Cabin John, MD  

    U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation 

    Washington, DC 

    World Privacy Forum 

    San Diego, CA

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