"We're pleased," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington. "We wrote to Google on June 3 and pointed out that this was required by California law, and Google is a California corporation. We're not asking them to comply with the laws of Singapore."
"But it was interesting that they did it on the 30th day after we sent the letter, which is just under the wire in terms of when they would have been in actual violation of the law and could have been subject to civil lawsuits," he said. "I think they understood that this was something they needed to do."
Although the law doesn't call for specific penalties for noncompliance, jurisdiction would most likely fall to California's Unfair Competition Law, which says that the California attorney general, district attorneys, some city and county attorneys as well as private plaintiffs can file lawsuits against businesses for acts of "unfair competition," which are considered to be any act involving a business that violates California law.
Neither Rotenberg nor Dixon knew of any other companies that did not provide links to their privacy policies on their home pages.
"We're glad they took our comments to heart and have done something they should have done a long time ago," said Paul Stephens, director of Policy and Advocacy for the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
"We thought that their position, that they wanted to have an uncluttered look and that the addition of seven letters would somehow clutter the look, was somewhat absurd," he said. "But it's what they needed to do."