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Ancestry's Privacy Policy Change

by Bradley Jansen June 30th, 2015 2:21 pm

If you haven't heard, Ancestry.com has changed it's privacy policy.  Over at geneabloggers, Thomas MacEntee has a wonderful post red-lining the changes.  See this PDF linked here:

http://www.geneabloggers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/COMPARE-ACOM-POS-20140801-20150626.pdf

More generally, it's a good idea to follow news on developments not only of changes to privacy policies, but other corporate news as well.  Companies get bought and sold, and these ownership changes may bring changes to the privacy policies or other data use issues.

Similarly, sometimes companies go out of business (I am NOT trying to start a rumor about Ancestry.com or any other genealogy company!), and what happens to the data might be different in a bankruptcy proceeding than the company's stated privacy or other policies may indicate.

Some years ago, I wrote an op-ed "Our Bankrupt Privacy Policies" on exactly how the Federal Trade Commission approved the prostitution of personal consumer data in a bankruptcy proceeding.  Toysmart.com had a privacy policy saying, “When you register with Toysmart.com, you can rest assured that your information will never be shared with a third party."  Despite this clear statement, the FTC approved the selling of that information to a third party buyer.

In short, don't post or share any information--especially Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of living people--that you wouldn't want shared when privacy policies change or company ownership changes--especially if it goes out of business and bankruptcy proceedings put your personal information on the selling block.

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