When AOL altered its data collection procedures, one of the company's subsidiaries, Gravity, had to inform its users that they could no longer file "do-not-track" requests.
What is a do-not-track request? When users visit a website, the website can track the user’s activity and send this data to other websites (or use it to customize their advertising). Gravity is a service that personalizes advertisements based on a user's preferences and browsing history.
When AOL took over Gravity, it changed its policies and no longer allows users to opt out of tracking. Now, any time users access AOL or Gravity, their activity can be monitored and used to customize the ads they receive.
While many users might not even notice the change, AOL had to disclose it. As an IT consultant, web app developer, or other tech professional, you might find yourself in a similar situation. Let's take a look at when and why you need to inform customers about changes to advertising and privacy policies.
What You Need to Know about Privacy Policies
- How it collects data.
- How long data is stored.
- What it uses data for.
- What policies users can opt out of.
- How to opt out.
- What third parties have access to user data.
It's a good reminder: even if you're worried customers might not like how you use their data, you have to inform them if you want to avoid a lawsuit. (For more information on covering tech lawsuits, read more about Errors and Omissions Insurance.)
Discussing Privacy Policies with Clients