In 2007, Google bought online ad network DoubleClick, which uses cookies to collect and store data about Google users from their browsing history, to best place clients’ ads. This past June, Google revised its privacy policy to state that users’ activities on other sites tracked by DoubleClick “may be associated with [their] personal information.”  This change means that Google now has the ability to compile a comprehensive profile on any user who opted in, based on his/her browsing habits across any device used to access Google’s services (e.g., Gmail, YouTube, etc.), and made up of personally identifiable information collected from those services.

The change is optional for anyone with an existing account (accessible through the “Activity Controls” menu), but is set as default for any new account created from June onward. Further, users who have opted in to share their data with Google can opt out at any time. Google has even highlighted the recent changes to its privacy policy in an effort to be more transparent with its user base.

TAKEAWAY: As aggregating data for behavioral advertising purposes becomes increasingly popular, it is important for companies that make material changes to their privacy practices and policies to make sure existing users are provided adequate notice regarding those privacy policy changes.