Consumer and Privacy Groups Urge Google to Post a Link to Its Privacy Policy from Its Home Page

June 10, 2008 UPDATE -- California Assemblymember Joel Anderson (R - La Mesa) wrote CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt, urging him to comply with California law and post a link to its privacy policy on the Google home page.

SAN DIEGO, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A coalition of privacy and consumer organizations from California to Washington, D.C. have urged Google to post a prominent link on its homepage to its privacy policy. In a letter released June 3rd, 2008, the groups say this is required by California law and is the widespread practice of commercial web sites.

The organizations include the California-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the World Privacy Forum, Consumer Action, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Federation of California, and ACLU of Northern California, among others. 

Google has come under criticism recently for failing to post a homepage link to its privacy policy, saying that it did not want to clutter its homepage. But several experts, including the head of the California Office of Privacy Protection, have said that Google should include the link.

According to the consumer organizations, "Google's reluctance to post a link to its privacy policy on its homepage is alarming."

The groups wrote to Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, "We urge you to comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act and the widespread practice for commercial web sites as soon as possible.”

Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., said, "This is not rocket science. And the word 'privacy' is not got going to take up a lot of space on the Google homepage."

Pam Dixon, Executive Director of the World Privacy Forum in San Diego, California said, "Consumers should be able to access Google's privacy policy with just one click from its homepage -- this is an industry-wide best practice that Google is not exempt from.”

Beth Givens, Director of the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said, “Google’s homepage will easily accommodate this important seven-letter word.”

EPIC, the World Privacy Forum and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse will hold a press conference Tuesday at 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 pm. Eastern to discuss the letter.

For more information:

The Letter to Google is available below and at:

About EPIC:
EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. EPIC was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.

About the World Privacy Forum:
The World Privacy Forum is a non-profit public interest research group based in San Diego, California. It focuses its work on in-depth longitudinal research and consumer education in the area of privacy.

About the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a non-profit, San-Diego based consumer education and advocacy organization. The PRC was established in 1992.

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Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Dear Dr. Schmidt,

We are writing to you on behalf of California consumers and Internet users around the world to urge Google to include a direct link to its privacy policy on its homepage.

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 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.

While we do not believe that a privacy policy is a guarantee of privacy protection, it does represent a commitment by a commercial web site to inform users about the company's privacy practices.

Google's reluctance to post a link to its privacy policy on its homepage is alarming. We urge you to comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act and the widespread practice for commercial web sites as soon as possible.


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 and San Francisco, 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, Maryland

U.S. Bill of  Rights Foundation
Washington, DC
World Privacy Forum
San Diego, CA

Cc: Joanne McNabb, California's Office of Privacy Protection
   Edmund J. Brown, California Attorney General