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What Is Personally Identifiable Information, and Why Is It Important?

Where Do I Go To Learn How Companies Treat My Information?

What Can I Do To Protect My Information Online?

Cookies and Online Tracking

Using Social Networks & Photo-Sharing Services

Mobile Devices & Privacy

Additional Privacy Considerations

Online Privacy Rights under Maryland and Federal Law

This guide was created in collaboration with
Future of Privacy Forum logo graphic

Printable version of this Guide (PDF).

Where Do I Go To Learn How Companies Treat My Information?

Many companies have privacy policies that tell you how they collect, use, and share your information. By reading a company's privacy policy before you use that company's product or service, you can learn what information it collects and how it will use and share it before you decide whether to give out your personal information. The existence of a privacy policy does not necessarily mean that your privacy is protected. A company’s privacy policy is often where a company tells you how they will use and share your data, if you have any choices about how your data is used or shared, and how to exercise those choices. You can usually find a link to the "privacy policy" or "privacy notice" near the top or bottom of a company's home page.

In addition to privacy policies, some companies may display familiar seals or "trust marks. " You might recognize some of these examples:

TrustE seal
ESRB online seal
Kid safe seal
Better Business Bureau logo
Privo Privacy Certified logo

Seals like these indicate that the company has committed to follow a set of agreed upon privacy rules. They also provide another resource you can contact if a business has violated a privacy commitment. However, if you are concerned about the treatment of your PII, you should read the privacy policy, rather than relying on seals or "trust marks. "



Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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