Frequently Asked Questions

What is PrivacyChoice?

Cookie disclosure

How does PrivacyChoice use cookies?

Online tracking

How do you define "tracking"?

How does TrackerBlock work?

Should I allow tracking by more reputable companies?

What is the Network Advertising Initiative?

Add-ons and troubleshooting

Why does TrackerBlock add cookies to my browser?

How do browser add-ons work?

How do I uninstall browser features?

Other topics

How can I contribute privacy policy summaries?

What terms apply to my use of PrivacyChoice?

Can you answer a question not listed here?


What is PrivacyChoice?

The PrivacyChoice mission is to make privacy easier.

For web users, PrivacyChoice offers tools to help you understand and make choices about your online privacy. Privacyfix, our flagship service, is a personalized privacy dashboard, where you can manage your privacy settings across Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, thousands of websites and tracking companies. Privacyfix is built on the innovative Privacyscore privacy rating framework, a systematic and constantly updated privacy rating framework that measures privacy risk for thousands of top websites.

For website and app makers, PrivacyChoice for Publishers makes it easy to provide a superb privacy experience for users, including human-readable privacy policies and compliance and monitoring tools for new tracking disclosure requirements. Publishers can deploy our hosted privacy templates in minutes, or develop their own custom privacy framework using our APIs. With our hosted privacy platform, publishers stay in step with rapidly evolving industry requirements, and third-party tracking and disclosure is automatically monitored and maintained.

To support these services, PrivacyChoice maintains a comprehensive database of tracking companies, including domains used by over 1,200 ad and data companies, their privacy policies and opt-out and opt-in processes. By continuously scanning top websites and collecting information from a panel of users, PrivacyChoice maintains a map of the companies collecting data on popular websites. We use this to identify new trackers and to verify opt-out effectiveness.

PrivacyChoice was founded by Jim Brock, a technology entrepreneur, former Yahoo! executive and co-founder of Attributor. Jim writes the privacychoice blog.

How does PrivacyChoice use cookies?

Technical cookies

When you visit privacychoice.org, we use browser cookies (small text files stored by your browser) in order to make our service as reliable and easy-to-use as possible. By identifying your browser from page to page through cookies, we can help you navigate the site more effectively, secure your access to registered services (like PrivacyChoice Policymaker) and measure how people are using our services. We do not use cookies to identify your browser across different websites. Other companies cannot access the cookie information that we use.

You can change your cookie preferences to turn off our use of browser cookies, and you can delete cookies that are already in your browser. You can learn more about how to do this at allaboutcookies.org. If cookies are not enabled, you will not be able to use services that require registration, and our site may not work properly for you.

Cookie information is not associated with identifying information like your name or email address, except when you use PrivacyChoice Policymaker, in which case we use cookies to keep you logged in and to prevent others from accessing your privacy policy settings.

Analytics cookies

When you use a Privacyfix, browser extension or app, we identify your computer or device using a unique code that is stored by the extension or app. We use this unique code to save your Privacyfix selections, and to understand usage patterns that help us monitor and improve the service. By installing and using Privacyfix, you are consenting to our use of analytics cookies.

On privacychoice.org and privacyscore.com, we use Google Analytics, a third-party analytics program that helps us understand how people use our services and enable us to monitor and improve them. Google uses cookies to operate Google Analytics. To disable Google Analytics on this site, click here.

How do you define "tracking"?

Tracking is when companies collect or share information about what you do across different websites, apps or other data sources, without asking you first. Companies do this primarily to customize advertising, content and products based on your interests. They leave cookies in your browser that identify your computer (typically anonymously) and associate it things like what you've shopped or searched for recently. Some companies trade in this data, selling other parties the ability to leave their own cookie and associate it with some part of your profile.

If you're looking for detailed legalese, try this: Tracking is the non-consensual use or transfer of behavioral data collected across websites, applications or data sources as to an individual, computer or device. To learn more, read the analysis on the PrivacyChoice Blog.

How does TrackerBlock work?

TrackerBlock for Firefox is a browser add-on that blocks specified tracking companies from reading or writing cookies on your computer, and deletes files they may leave behind (such as Flash cookies) that could identify your computer. You can set blocking to include all trackers in our index, trackers that are not subject to industry oversight, or specific tracking companies.

TrackerBlock for Internet Explorer uses a feature built-in to the browser that controls access to cookies based on a list of domains that you upload to the browser. PrivacyChoice creates this list for you from our database. You can choose whether to include all A small number of companies are not included in the lists because blocking their domain generally would impair the functioning of non-tracking services.

Why does TrackerBlock add cookies to my browser?

If you use TrackerBlock's Opt-out feature, the add-on will write specific opt-out cookies from each tracking company, which are signals that you do not want your interests used to target ads. TrackerBlock re-writes these cookies any time you clear cookies from your browser. For most companies, this selection may be redundant if you choose to block cookie access entirely. If you do not want these cookies written, select "None" on the Opt-out panel in TrackerBlock controls.

Why didn't the TrackerBlock or TrackerScan button show up on my toolbar?

Normally, the TrackerBlock and TrackerScan eye-cons show up on the Navigation Toolbar, just to the left of the URL box. On Apple computers, it may show up to the far right in the Navigation Toolbar. If it doesn't show up, you can manually add it by going to View > Toolbars > Customize. Look for the icon and drag it to your toolbar. This is also how you can move the toolbar button to another location.

How do browser add-ons work?

An add-on is a small program that customizes how your browser works; Firefox was designed to allow add-ons and thousands have been created, including toolbars from companies like Google, Yahoo! and StumbleUpon. If you want to learn more about Firefox add-ons, the Mozilla site has an FAQ.

Our browser add-ons do not collect or store information about your browsing history.

Our browser add-ons have been engineered to work without noticeably affecting your browser performance, but let us know if you have a different experience.

How do I uninstall browser features?

If you are dissatisfied with the performance of any PrivacyChoice add-on or have an idea of how to improve it, please be sure to give us your feedback.

To uninstall or disable PrivacyChoice browser features, please follow these instructions:

TrackerBlock for Internet Explorer 9

1. Pull down the SAFETY menu, and then click TRACKING PROTECTION ...
2. Find and click on the PRIVACYCHOICE list and either click REMOVE (to remove it completely) or DISABLE (to disable it temporarily)

TrackerBlock for Internet Explorer 7 or 8

1. Click on the TOOLS menu
2. Select INTERNET OPTIONS
3. Click on the PRIVACY tab
4. Click on the DEFAULT button

Add-ons for Firefox 4.0 (TrackerBlock, TrackerScan or PrivacyChoice Opt-out)

1. Click the FIREFOX button (upper left corner) and select ADD-ONS
2. Find the add-on you want to uninstall on the EXTENSIONS list
3. Click REMOVE (to remove completely) or DISABLE (to disable temporarily)
4. Restart your browser if necessary to complete the change

Add-ons for Firefox 3.6 (TrackerBlock, TrackerScan or PrivacyChoice Opt-out)

1. Pull down the TOOLS menu and select ADD-ONS
2. Find the add-on you want to uninstall on the list
3. Click REMOVE (to remove completely) or DISABLE (to disable temporarily)
4. Restart your browser if necessary to complete the change

Add-on for Chrome (Keep More Opt Outs)

1. Click the WRENCH icon (upper right) and select TOOLS then select EXTENSIONS
2. Find the add-on you want to uninstall on the list
3. Click REMOVE (to remove completely) or DISABLE (to disable temporarily)

How can I contribute privacy policy summaries?

You can contribute a summary of the privacy policy for any website, including your own. Install the Policyturk Extension for Chrome. Once you have it installed, visit the privacy policy you want to review and click the "PC" logo in your browser extension bar. You'll see instructions in the console that will guide you through the process. If you have any trouble, just let us know.

What terms apply to my use of PrivacyChoice?

These terms are a condition of your use of PrivacyChoice services for web users. Click here to see terms applicable to use of PrivacyChoice Policymaker and other services for websites.

No automated use. No automated use of this service is permitted. Non-permitted use includes creating any separate compilation of privacychoice summaries or excerpts. Neither our web service nor any browser add-on may be distributed or embedded in any other application or service without our permission.

Copyright and trademarks. AVG Netherlands BV owns copyright to the compilation and summaries presented, and reserves all rights. Please contact us permissions@privacychoice.org to request any permissions. privacychoice and the privacychoice logo, all images and text, and all page headers, custom graphics and button icons are service marks, trademarks and/or trade dress of AVG Netherlands BV. All other trademarks, product names and company names or logos cited in the service are the property of their respective owners.

We are happy to license our tracking company database at no charge for academic and non-profit purposes. Please contact us.

No advice. Nothing we provide constitutes advice of any kind, including legal advice. If you require advice in relation to any legal matter you should consult an attorney.

No warranties. All privacychoice services are provided as is, without any representations or warranties, express or implied, including any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. Nothing in this disclaimer will exclude or limit any warranty implied by law that it would be unlawful to exclude or limit; and nothing in this disclaimer will exclude or limit our liability in respect of any matter which it would be illegal or unlawful to exclude or limit, or to attempt or purport to exclude or limit, our liability.

No responsibility for third-party data practices. We do not and cannot promise that this service will eliminate or control the collection, use or sharing of your online information. The companies collecting information are responsible for compliance with their own policies.

No liability. We will not be liable to you (whether under the law of contract, the law of torts or otherwise) in relation to this website or the templates for any direct, indirect, special or consequential loss; or for any business losses, loss of revenue, income, profits or anticipated savings, loss of contracts or business relationships, loss of reputation or goodwill, or loss or corruption of information or data.

Errors and omissions. We make no guarantee that our excerpts and summaries are accurate, complete or consistent. All summaries and excerpts are offered "as is" and are qualified entirely by the full text of the related privacy policy. While we monitor for hundreds of companies that collect user information across websites, our list is incomplete.

Other matters. By using or subscribing to this service, you agree that all of our rights and obligations are governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of California, excluding its choice of law rules. Any legal action or proceeding relating to your use of this service may only be instituted in a state or federal court in Santa Cruz County, California, and each of us agree to submit to the jurisdiction of these courts. These terms expressly exclude and disclaim the terms of the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, which do not apply to any transaction involving this service. Minors are not eligible to use the service and we ask that they do not submit any personal information to us. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and to cancel user access at any time.

Can you answer a question not listed here?

Please feel free to contact us with any other questions or comments about PrivacyChoice. User feedback is crucial to the improvement of our service.

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