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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Panic From AdSense "Policy Breach Notice" EMail

Some blog owners, who use AdSense, received some very disturbing email this weekend.
This morning I received the following email from Google.
Dear Publisher,

We have now verified that we are no longer detecting PII being passed to Google from the account(s) under your control.

Thank you for helping to resolve this matter.

Regards,

The Google Policy Team
What did I do, this time? Is my AdSense account in danger of being terminated?
And the email was labeled "Policy Breach Notice".

Fortunately, this was, apparently, just another episode of Google being Google.

Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, can be passed through some ads, hosted by AdSense.

Some time ago, AdSense Support identified a common mistake being made by some AdSense publishers, which can cause some AdSense ads to pass personal details about their Google accounts. AdSense Support refers to these details as "PII".

AdSense originally notified the negligent publishers of their mistakes, as a "Policy Breach Notice". This weekend, they followed up on their previous action, and advised some publishers that they were no longer in violation.

Presumably, they could have emailed only the publishers, who had made and corrected their mistakes - and thanked them for taking action. In this case, however, they emailed a large amount of publishers who had never made this mistake, and had never received an original "breach notice" - and who had no idea why they were now getting a "breach notice".

Whether the proper publishers received the "thank you" is a matter for speculation.

If you, or someone who you know, received a "Policy Breach Notice"
We have now verified that we are no longer detecting PII being passed to Google from the account(s) under your control.
This is good. You are not in violation of the PII Policy. Get back to work, on your blog. That said, you should be careful to check email, regularly - and look carefully for important email.

For progressing advice on this issue, AdSense Support suggests that you post in the main AdSense Help Forum topic - and / or read the advice provided there.
(Update 4 March): AdSense sent an update
Dear Publisher

Google recently sent you an email in English from publisher-policy-no-reply@google.com, with the subject of "policy breach notice," regarding personally identifiable information.

The message was sent in error; we would like to convey our sincerest apologies for the alarm that this must have caused you and your colleagues.

You do not need to take specific action on this erroneous message however, due to the dynamic nature of publisher monetization we encourage you to periodically review our resources regarding PII.

Dude, hit me with a comment!