New Google Privacy Move Has Critics Furious
Google’s plan to collapse 60 privacy policies into a single one and combine information it collects about its users has sparked outcry among privacy advocates and scrutiny from lawmakers around the world. Privacy experts have slammed the approach as “frustrating,” “a little frightening,” and even “illegal.”
“Users are not likely to see any difference actually because most of what Google is doing they have been always able to do,” said Jules Polonetsky, director of the think tank Future of Privacy Forum. “They were already tracking, personalizing, and tailoring profiles for users based on the different things that you did. There now will be some more data that will be available to do this.”
Merging information gleaned across multiple services isn’t anything new for Google. A Google spokesman noted, “Privacy policies for a long time now have allowed us to combine information that’s associated with a particular Google account.”
But the policy being introduced Thursday will help Google develop richer profiles of its users, cobbled together from data about what videos they’ve watched on YouTube, what their Gmail emails say, what searches they perform and which topics they follow on Google+. Rather than keeping information about your Gmail usage separate from specifics on what you write about on Blogger, Google will pull all of those details together. All Google users will also be required to submit to the new terms, a fact that has privacy advocates up in arms.
Though Google has cast the changes as a benefit to users, saying they will enjoy a "beautifully simple" experience, the ability to piece together more information about users’ activities online will ultimately prove a boon to Google as it challenges other web companies, such as Facebook, in a war over advertising dollars and users’ time.
“The privacy changes are taking place in the midst of a data arms race between Facebook, Google and other companies in the space,” said Alan Simpson, vice president of policy for Common Sense Media, an advocacy group for Internet safety issues. “They’re all working to gather as much data and personal information as they can and figuring out ways that they will use our data to develop a better advertising market.”
Google noted in a video introducing the privacy changes that by sharing more information across its products, the company could deliver “more accurate spelling suggestions because you’ve typed a word before” or “tell you when you’ll be late for a meeting based on your location, calendar and local traffic conditions.”
“The companies in this space all talk in terms of the potential positive, and there are quite a few potential positives,” Simpson said. “There might well be innovations that come out of this that improve Google search, but what we don’t know is how this will impact the way data is being used. “
Privacy experts also fear that the new policy could encourage Google rivals, which are likewise hungry for users’ personal information, to take an even more aggressive stance toward the collection of personal details and continue chipping away at people’s privacy online.
“Companies keep saying ‘this is the standard’ because they all keep moving the goal post, and every time they move the goal post, everyone jumps up and does the same thing,” said Chet Wisniewski, a security adviser at Sophos. “At some point, you’ve gone too far.”
Want to learn more about what Google knows about you?
- Visit Google Dashboard to see what data is associated with your Google Account.
- Check out Google's Ad Preferences Manager to view the interests and demographic information Google has associated with you, or to opt out of targeted advertising.
- Clear, monitor, or control the data Google collects information about your browsing history on Web History, or on YouTube here or here.
- British girl caught having sex in Virgin aeroplane toilets as her PARENTS sat nearby
- Student posted 'revenge porn' nude pics of his ex-girlfriend because she 'gave evidence to cops about a burglary he was involved in'
- Pizza delivery man 'caught on hidden camera having sex with family dog'
- Police launch all-out search for amorous couple filmed having sex on public fountain in Russia
- A model fan! Belgian teen lands L'Oreal contract after being photographed at World Cup game
- English teacher, 34, arrested for having sex with 17-year-old student seven times
- Girl, 15, tries to commit suicide after naked picture of her is posted online
- Sex maniac doctor who used medical images as porn, sent naked selfies to patient ... and sexted DURING C-sections
- Loving Family: Man 'had sex with his sister-in-law so that she could get pregnant rather than getting IVF treatments'
- Born into brothels: Behind the scenes of Kolkata's notorious red-light district where thousands of girls are forced into sex work
- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal finally takes responsibility for winter weather chaos
- Mike Tyson opens up about bankruptcy, how much sex he got in jail and how he told his ex-wife he had AIDS
- California high school asked to abandon 'offensive' Arab mascot
- LANCE ARMSTRONG WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Drugs cheat meets his accuser Emma O'Reilly
- Sleeping man picture goes viral
- First marathon runner crosses finish line
- Russian cosmonauts take Olympic torch on first historic spacewalk outside space station
- Girl flees pursuer, finds friendly face, safety at Denver home
- Virus holds computer files ransom
- The 12 major travel destinations you can skip
- Be There: Motivating high school students to continue their education
- The Facebook photo of a high school basketball coach Laraine Cook being groped by her fiance that got her fired
- Free swastika tattoos aim to 'reclaim' Nazi symbol's original Buddhist meaning of peace and love
- It's Bob Baaa-ley! Marley the sheep sports amazing dreadlocks (and her trainer can't keep him off the grass)
- Mother Shannon Dodson 'drowned son then set body on fire'
- King Edward VIII dropped F-bomb at having to miss rendezvous with lover
- 11-year-old boy beaten by grandmother and mother who then POST VIDEO of abuse on Facebook
- Kate's secret godmother of style: She brought the royal couple together at 17 and her stunning looks almost stole the show at George's christening. But these pictures reveal Emilia D'Erlanger's most vital role...
- Married leader of controversial Quiverfull movement which promotes family values resigns after having an affair
- Negotiators report little progress in budget talks
- Feds post food allergy guidelines for schools
- Why are today's young women so unashamed about being fat?
- 400-meter asteroid sighted may 'blow up the earth' in 2032
- Is organic food really better?
- Second extortion attempt on Hong Kong set of 'Transformers 4: Age of Extinction'
- AU safety experts urge community to watch out for date rape drugs
- Georgia company expands recall of pet treats
- Typhoon Haiyan wreaks havoc as death toll rises in Philippines
- Robert Felix Gonzales charged with prostituting teen runaway on Craigslist in exchange for meth and cash
- Typhoon slams Philippines; high death toll feared
- Squirrel invasion sweeping Georgia
- The scents of success? Meet the twin sisters who help control where you spend your money - all through the power of smell
- Georgia Southern takes aim at new shooting sports center
- The adjustable airline seats that widen according to your size (and how much you're willing to pay)
- 9th annual Wounded Warrior & Wheelchair Hunt
- Slain LAX TSA officer remembered as a family man
- Camel visits Columbus for Hump Day!
- Sorry Charlie's facade inspection to take place Friday
- Medical crew killed in helicopter crash on way to pick up sick child
Rate this article
|PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity||Awkward family photos|
|UPDATED: Faces of Meth||PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter|