Last updated: September 29, 2016
At AOL, it's our mission to provide users with rich, interactive online experiences. From Pulitzer-Prize winning journalism on the Huffington Post, to the latest technology news on TechCrunch, to up-to-the-minute traffic information on MapQuest, our websites, apps, and other services and software are designed to keep you informed, entertained and delighted. We also operate some of the industry's best-known advertising services, including Adap.tv and Advertising.com.
We're always working to make our services even better. One of the ways we do that is by analyzing information we collect and receive about users in order to figure out what they might be interested in. This helps us develop more engaging content and provide more effective advertising, which enables us to keep most of our services free.
Information We Collect and Receive
We collect and receive information about users in a few different ways:
Additionally, when you use AOL software (such as the AOL desktop software, AOL toolbars, or AIM), we may collect information about other software on your device for the limited purposes of providing the service you are using and improving the security of our services.
- Information you give us. You can give us information directly. For example:
- When you sign up for an AOL account you may give us information such as your name, zip code, and date of birth;
- When you purchase one of our paid services, you give us your billing information, which may include your credit card data;
- When you use Moviefone, you can give us your zip code so that we can tell you where and when movies are playing;
- When you post comments in response to a story or video on any of our Services, we-and other users-receive that information; and
- When you use the "My Portfolios" feature on DailyFinance, you can give us information about your investments so that we can provide you with up-to-the-second market news and commentary relevant to your holdings. (Your use of AOL financial features is subject to additional privacy terms.)
- When you otherwise contact us or provide us information directly.
- Information we collect or receive when you use our Services. We also collect or receive information when you use our Services. We collect some of this information using cookies, web beacons, and other technologies. Depending on how you access and use our Services, we may receive:
- Log information. This is information we automatically collect and store when you use our Services or other companies' websites and apps in the AOL Advertising Network. It may include, for example:
- Information about your interactions with the websites, apps, and other services you use, the content you view, the search queries you submit, and information in cookies and similar technologies;
- Information about how you access those websites, apps, and other services, your browser or operating system, your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, and the website you visited before visiting our Services.
- The type of device you're using (e.g., an iPhone);
- Certain device identifiers which may be unique to your device; and
- Your Internet service provider.
- Location information. This information can include, for example, your device's GPS signal and information about nearby WiFi networks and cell towers. We get this information when you use location-enabled services like MapQuest, which can give you driving directions based on your current location.
- Other information. Please note that AOL may use information about your use of certain AOL communication tools (for example, AOL Mail and AOL Instant Messenger); however, when you use AOL communication tools, AOL does not read your private online communications without your consent.
- Information from third-party sources. We may receive additional information about you that is publicly or commercially available and combine that with the information we have collected or received about you in other ways. Also, we receive information about you when you choose to connect with social networking services while using our Services. Learn more about how that works here.
How We Use the Information We Collect and Receive
We use the information we collect and receive for the following general purposes:
Learn more about advertising and privacy on our Services.
- To provide our Services. We use the information we collect and receive to provide you with the Services you use or request. For example:
- If you request local movie show times from Moviefone, we might use your location information to provide you with times at nearby theaters;
- If you sign up to receive the daily headlines from Huffington Post, we'll use your email address to deliver them to you; and
- If you ask us to remember your login information for AOL Services, we'll use information stored in cookies when you return to those websites.
- To improve our Services. We also use the information we collect and receive to provide content and advertising that people are likely to find relevant and engaging. For example:
- If we notice that Huffington Post users in general prefer national political commentary, we might put that content in a special place on the website or in the app;
- If we notice that a user is searching for sports cars on AOL Autos, we might show the user an ad for a sports car on AOL.com or on other sites in the AOL Advertising Network; and
- If we receive information from users that a Service isn't working properly, we may use that information to address any problem.
- To provide effective advertising. Many of our Services are supported by advertising, and some of our Services provide advertising on our websites and apps, and on third-party websites and apps. We use the information we collect and receive to make the advertising we provide more effective. Some of the ways we do this are:
- Showing you ads based on your online activities, such as the websites and applications you use, the content you view, and the searches you submit on those applications
- Limiting the number of times you see the same ad; and
- Measuring the effectiveness of the ads we serve.
How We Share the Information We Collect and Receive
We may share information with:
Companies that Provide Services to AOL
- Affiliates. The information one AOL affiliate receives can be shared among other AOL affiliates, including the Verizon family of companies.
- Business partners. We may share non-personally identifiable information with select business partners, who may use the information for a variety of purposes, including to provide you with relevant advertising.
- Other parties in response to legal process or when necessary to protect our Services. We may disclose your information-including the contents of your communications with other parties-to other parties, such as when we have a good faith belief that:
- It is necessary to respond to lawful governmental requests or legal process (for example, a court order, search warrant, or subpoena);
- The information is relevant to a crime that has been or is being committed;
- An emergency exists that poses a threat to your safety or the safety of another person; or
- It is necessary to protect the rights or property of AOL.
- Other parties in connection with certain business transactions. In the event that the ownership of AOL Inc. or an affiliate or their assets changes as a result of a merger, acquisition, sale of assets, or in the unlikely event of a bankruptcy, your information may be transferred to another company. If we believe a transfer results in a material change in the use of the information we've collected or received about you, you will be given the opportunity to opt out of the transfer.
Companies that provide services to us or act on our behalf may have access to information about you. These companies are limited in their ability to use information they receive in the course of providing services to us.
Third Parties that Provide Content, Advertising Services, or Functionality on Our Services
Some of the content, advertising, and functionality on our Services may be provided by third parties that are not affiliated with us. Such third parties include:
- Advertising providers, which help us and our advertising customers provide ads that are tailored to users' interests and understand how users respond to those ads;
- Audience-measurement companies, which help us measure the overall usage of our Services and compare that usage to other online services; and
- Social networking services (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google ) that enable you to login to certain of our Services and to share things you find on our Services with your social network.
Note that some of these companies participate in industry-developed programs designed to provide consumers with choices about whether to receive targeted ads. To learn more, please visit the websites of the Network Advertising Initiative and the Digital Advertising Alliance. For more information about privacy and advertising on our Services, please visit Advertising, Analytics and Privacy.
It's important to remember that we don't control the privacy practices of these (or any other) third-party services. So we encourage you to read the privacy policies of the services before connecting to them.
"Do Not Track" Signals
Some web browsers may transmit "do not track" signals to the websites and other online services with which the browser communicates. There is no standard that governs what, if anything, websites should do when they receive these signals. AOL currently does not take action in response to these signals. If and when a standard for responding is established, we may revisit its policy on responding to these signals.
You have a number of choices about how we handle your information:
Our Commitment to Security
- If you're a registered AOL user, you can access your registration information and any billing or shipping information and edit this information by visiting "My Account."
- If you're a registered AOL user, you can visit AOL Marketing Preferences to review your marketing preferences and make choices about how your information may be used to provide marketing offers to you. Note that these preferences do not apply to communications that are directly related to your registration with AOL or the fulfillment of a specific transaction you have requested (for example, a service advisory from AOL or an acknowledgment of a purchase order).
- Visit our Advertising, Analytics and Privacy page to learn more about your choices related to use of your information for online advertising. You can also opt out of receiving targeted ads from AOL by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance's consumer choice page and selecting AOL Advertising.
- Some of our Services (AOL Search and Netscape ISP, for example) may also offer you the ability to manage and control information collected or used when you use these services.
- If you're using a mobile device, please visit our Mobile Device Choices page for information about the choices we provide to mobile users.
Although no one can guarantee the security of the information collected and received, we do employ a number of safeguards intended to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access or disclosure of this information. Examples of the types of safeguards we may provide (depending on the circumstances) include:
- Storing the data you provide in controlled facilities;
- Using HTTPS encryption when you authenticate (i.e., log into one of our Services), which helps prevent unauthorized access to your login credentials;
- Limiting access to personal information to employees who need that access to perform their jobs; and
- Providing company-wide training on privacy and data security.
If you have questions concerning our information practices with respect to children, or if you would like to review, have deleted, or stop the further collection of your child's personal information, you may contact us:
AOL Children's Online Privacy
22000 AOL Way
Dulles, VA 20166-9302
By phone: (888) 206-6088
AOL is based in the United States, and, regardless of where you use our Services or otherwise provide information to us, the information may be transferred to and maintained on servers located in the U.S. Please note that any information we obtain about you will be stored in accordance with U.S. privacy laws, regulations, and standards, which may not be equivalent to the laws in your country of residence. By using our Services or by providing us with your information, you consent to this collection, transfer, storage, and processing of information to and in the United States. Learn more.
For users of AOL Services provided in Switzerland, AOL Inc. complies with the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework and has certified that it adheres to its Principles of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement. To view AOL’s certification, please visit http://2016.export.gov/safeharbor/swiss. AOL Inc. is also a participant in the ICDR/AAA U.S.- Swiss Safe Harbor Program. If you believe AOL has not satisfactorily addressed your privacy concerns, you may contact the ICDR/AAA at: http://info.adr.org/safeharbor/.
How to Contact Us