Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu

False positives and Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

In the interests of protecting end user privacy, Google ads product policies mandate that publishers must not pass any data to Google that Google could use or recognize as personally identifiable information (PII). This article addresses some best practices in various aspects of page design to reduce risk that PII might be in the URL that you pass to Google.

If you receive a notification stating you are in violation of sending google PII, please follow the steps outlined here to fix the issue. If you have done an exhaustive investigation and believe this notification was sent to you in error, please review the common false positive definitions we have below.

PII false positive definitions

  1. Site contact email addresses
  2. URL stored on a user’s hard drive

Site contact email addresses

Description: It is possible for the ad request to contain a non-personal email address that allows the user to contact the publisher; often, this email address is readily available on the publisher’s site. If that email address is triggering the PII violation, then the ad request is a false positive, and does not require publisher action.

Verification process:

  1. Confirm the page sending Google PII is your “Contact Us” page.
    1. Locate one of the sample ad requests in the PII violation notification you received.
    2. Find the “url” and “ref” parameters in the ad requests. Both parameters should look like URLs. For example:
      • url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.examplesite.com%2Fcontact%2Fredacted@example.com
      • ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.examplesite.com%2Fcontact%2Fredacted@example.com
    3. Use an unescaping tool to unescape the URLs.
    4. Check if it matches the URL of your “Contact Us” page.
  2. Navigate to the “Contact Us” page on the site.
  3. Confirm that an email address to contact you is readily available on the page.
  4. If you have confirmed this is the case, please mark "I believe I was contacted in error. Please re-review my account." on the form linked in the policy notification.

Back to top

URL stored on a user’s hard drive

Description: Users have the ability to save a part of websites on their hard drive, using the “save as” command in their browser. If part of the path associated with saving the site includes an email address, then a false positive occurs.

Verification process:

  1. Locate one of the sample ad requests in the PII violation notification you received.
  2. Find the “url” and “ref” parameters in the ad requests. Both parameters should look like URLs. For example:
    • url=file%3A%2F%2Fexamplesite.com%2Fpaget%2Fredacted@example.com
    • ref=file%3A%2F%2Fexamplesite.com%2Fpaget%2Fredacted@example.com
  3. Use an unescaping tool to unescape the URLs.
  4. Confirm that the URL looks like the file path from a computer. For example:
    • file://examplesite.com/page/redacted@example.com
  5. If you have confirmed this is the case, please mark "I believe I was contacted in error. Please re-review my account." on the form linked in the policy notification.

Back to top

Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?
Sign in to AdSense

Sign in to AdSense to see help for your account

Don't have an AdSense account? Sign Up for AdSense!