Google AdSense TOS change — publish your privacy policy

Those of you who visit my cycling blog no doubt have noticed that I participate in Google’s AdSense program, and I know several other bloggers also use Google AdSense.

Google has recently updated their terms and conditions for using their AdSense program. When you log in to AdSense to see how many pennies you’ve made for the day, you’ll be asked to accept or reject the new terms.

For most bloggers, the most important change has to do with posting a privacy policy that clearly discloses that third parties (such as Google AdSense) may be placing and reading cookies on your users’ browser, or using web beacons to collect information, in the course of ads being served on your website. Your privacy policy should also include information about user options for cookie management.

You can borrow the text of my privacy policy if you like. In my opinion, it mostly follows Google’s privacy notice requirement, though as of this writing it doesn’t yet contain information about cookie management. “User options for cookie management” means mentioning that web browsers allow you to disable and delete “cookies” with text like this:

“Cookies” are data sent to your web browser from a web server (such as Google) that can uniquely identify your computer and store information about user preferences. Most web browsers will accept cookies by default, but they can be set to reject cookies, either from all websites or from specific sites. You can also manually delete cookies from your web browser. These options are generally set through a “Privacy” setting in your browser setup.

I’m not a lawyer, and this advice is worth about what you paid for it. For most people, the easiest way to meet the Google AdSense TOS privacy requirement is to write a blog post with your privacy policy and then change your home page template to point to that blog post permalink page.

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Gerolsteiner riders in Sausalito; photo by me.


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