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Google Steps Up Privacy Requirements For AdWords Advertisers

If you’re going to advertise on AdWords, you’d better be safeguarding users’ personal and financial information on the landing site. So say new policy guidelines released today by Google.

The new global requirements for all AdWords advertisers govern sites that request payment, financial or personal information from visitors. They will take effect May 17. If Google finds advertisers out of compliance, they’ll suspend ads or accounts.

Currently, Google says advertisers must clearly describe how any personal information collected will be used. The new requirements specify that this information must be clear and easily accessible before information is submitted. Additionally, if personal information will be used for marketing purposes, the disclosure must state how people can opt out of future e-mails, phone calls or other direct communications.

For the purposes of the new policies, personal information includes full name, email address, mailing address, phone number, birth date, mother’s maiden name, and personal identity numbers such as driver’s license numbers, tax IDs, social security numbers or other national identity numbers.

When collecting payment information, along with things like Social Security numbers or bank account information, AdWords advertisers will be required to use the industry-standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt sensitive information. Information covered here includes credit and debit card numbers, bank and investment account numbers, wire transfer information, checking account numbers, and the abovementioned numbers associated with personal identity. Google has provided a “getting started with SSL” document as part of its online FAQs.

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