Are You Violating Google’s Terms of Service?

James Chiodo, Certified Information Privacy Professional CIPP/US

TERMS OF SERVICE ICONBy now, you are somewhat aware that you are required to have a privacy policy with the correct disclosures posted on your website to comply with the laws. Besides federal and state legal requirements for a privacy policy, Google also requires you to provide specific disclosures and information in your privacy policy when using their services.

What you may not know is that if you are using Google Analytics, AdWords or AdSense and do not have a privacy policy addressing these services you are violating Google’s terms of service, which could get your account banned by Google, or worse.

We have stated many times in the past that over 90% of websites and blogs are not compliant with the laws governing website privacy policies. A conservative estimate would be that 80% of websites using the above-mentioned Google services are likely violating Google’s terms of service as well. 

Are you using Google Analytics, AdWords or AdSense?

If you are, here are some of the privacy policy requirements Google expects of you when you use their Analytics program:

You will have and abide by an appropriate Privacy Policy and will comply with all applicable laws, policies, and regulations relating to the collection of information from Visitors. You must post a Privacy Policy that includes providing notice of your use of cookies that are used to collect data. You must disclose the use of Google Analytics, and how it collects and processes data.  You will use commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that a Visitor is provided with clear and comprehensive information about, and consents to, the storing and accessing of cookies or other information on the Visitor’s device where such activity occurs in connection with the Service and where providing such information and obtaining such consent is required by law.

If you use Google Analytics on your website or blog, and do not have a privacy policy explaining your use of Google Analytics, you are violating Google’s terms of service.

Source: See Googles complete terms of service for Analytics.

Google AdWords

Google has specific requirements that you must have in your privacy policy if you are using their services for advertising based on interests and location or remarketing. 

If you are using advertising based on interests and location or remarketing through Google or another provider, you are required by Google to describe to your users and visitors in your privacy policy the following:

  • How you are using your remarketing service.
  • How your ads are shown on websites across the Internet.
  • How the cookies being used serve ads based on a person’s past visits to your website.
  • How your users and visitors can opt out of Google’s use of cookies or how they can opt out of third-party vendor’s use of cookies.

If you are not providing this information, you are in violation of Google’s terms of service.

Source: See privacy policy requirements for Adwords remarketing.
See privacy policy requirements for advertising based on interests and location.

Google AdSense

Maybe the most sensitive of all Google’s programs is their AdSense program. It is also the easiest one to get kicked out of when you violate its policies. And like their other programs, you are required to include specific information in your privacy policy to comply with their terms of service.

Source: See Google’s requirements for Adsense.

Your Privacy Policy

Not only are they required by law, but having a professional attorney-drafted privacy policy can help you prevent legal problems with users and customers. Furthermore, a privacy policy with the right disclosures will keep you in compliance with Google’s terms of service. And finally, a properly displayed privacy policy show customers you are concerned about their privacy and are willing to post it on your website or blog.

How to Comply With Google’s Requirements and the New Privacy Laws?

See our attorney-drafted privacy policy that will help you comply with Internet privacy laws and Google’s requirements.


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