Groupon's privacy policy changes

Posted by Mark Raby

Location-specific deal site Groupon has instituted a new privacy policy.

As part of the company's continuing efforts to open up an initial public offering (IPO), its policy has been slightly altered and reworded to give more transparency and let users know exactly what they're in for when they provide personal information to Groupon.

For example, when you give Groupon your information, you are also telling it to pass your information to all of the merchants and "business partners" that make up the Groupon network. And the kicker is that these companies may have completely different privacy policies.

"We encourage Groupon Merchants and business partners to adopt and post privacy policies. However, the use of your Personal Information by such parties is governed by the privacy policies of such parties and is not subject to our control," Groupon advises in its new policy.

Additionally, if you choose to link your Facebook account with your Groupon account, all of Groupon's third-party partners not only get access to the information you've provided to Groupon, they also get complete access to all your public Facebook information as well.

Groupon lets users know about the latest and greatest offers in and around their city, whether it's discounts to a sporting event, half off admission to an amusement park, or . The site employs an army of freelance writers who focus on specific cities, and data for each city is sent to targeted, geo-centric ad space all around the Internet.

However, the site also encourages users to sign up, which involves providing personal data, for more specific and relevant deals. But at what cost?