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Web expert: Privacy policies must address third-party services

2/29/2012

In light of recent controversies related to the privacy policy and terms of use on websites such as Google and web applications such as Path, The Next Web Insider spoke with a prominent Italian web designer and entrepreneur, Andrea Giannangelo, about the elements of a good privacy policy.

Giannangelo told TNW he deplores the unreadability of many privacy policies, but a more fundamental problem is that many sites lack policies altogether, or their policies are not watertight from a legal perspective.

"Many websites have cut-and-paste policies or no privacy policy at all; this means they are risking fines," he told the source. "If you build websites for someone else and you don't provide the privacy policy (or a bad one) you're putting your reputation at risk with your client."

In particular, Giannangelo said many policies leave out information about third-party services, keeping users in the dark about how a site is collecting information about them and what that information is used for. He added that even if policies contain this information, it is often buried within text that is long and hard to understand.

On March 1, Google's new privacy policy will take effect. The tech giant has rolled 60 disparate policies into one, but despite this simplification, the change has caused an international furor. Citing data privacy concerns and non-compliance with European regulations, France requested Google delay implementation, but the California-based tech company refused.