At least one privacy expert, however, says Google isn’t an “online service” for purposes of the statute. Chris Hoofnagle, senior fellow with the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said California lawmakers intended that the term apply to companies that offered downloadable programs like adware or services like chat.
He added that it’s not clear what Google is gaining by its stance. “Strategically it doesn’t make sense to leave the link off the home page,” he said, adding that consumers interpret the presence of a link as a seal of approval indicating that the company has a good policy.
“It’s a small, dumb violation of the law, and they could cure it by just putting up the link,” he said.