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Ask.com is also in the process of creating two search results pages that will be served up whenever people enter the queries "Ask privacy" or simply "Privacy" in the search engine. These pages will contain information and links related to online privacy in general and to Ask.com policies in particular.
In addition to distributing its statement as a press release and as an official blog posting, Ask.com is sending it to privacy organizations and advocates and to the California attorney general's office.
"No one required that we take any of these steps. We took a look at our webpages, and realized we could make some key improvements when it came to privacy links on our service. It's simply the right thing to do for the information and awareness of our users," the statement reads.
Thus, Ask.com's decision is a good one, but not an earth-shaking move that is out of the ordinary, Meeks said. "Ask.com is falling in line with industry standards," he said.
Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, one of the 14 organizations that signed the letter, welcomed Ask.com's decision to adopt a policy that is "consistent with those of most online businesses."
Other groups signing the letter included the ACLU of Northern California, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the World Privacy Forum.