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New privacy requirements for Google AdWords Advertisers

From May 17th 2011, Google will be introducing new policy guidelines for many of their advertisers. Now, if you are to advertise on AdWords, you need to ensure you are safeguarding users’ personal and financial details if you collect them on your website.

These new requirements are going to affect businesses that request some sort of online payment (i.e. e-commerce sites) and those sites that collect financial and/or personal information from the sites users. The new privacy requirements are to maintain Google’s goal of providing a “safe, fair and trusted” AdWords marketplace, and if Google finds a non-compliant advertiser, their ads and/or account will be suspended.

The three new rules will require that advertiser’s websites contain:

1. A valid SSL connection when collecting payments and/or certain financial/personal information. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a technology for encrypting sensitive data travelling between the site visitor’s web browser and the company’s website servers. This protects the users’ security of their sensitive data, such as their account details, passwords etc. Web addresses that are secured with SSL will appear as https: as opposed to http.

2. A privacy policy that is available to website visitors that is easily accessible before any information is collected. This policy must clearly describe how any personal information collected is going to be used.
3. Lastly, if the personal information is to be used for marketing purposes or if there is going to be ongoing communication, there needs to be a clear guideline on how to opt-out of receiving further communications in the privacy policy.