Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Google privacy policy: Good, bad or indifferent?

Google is implementing a new privacy policy as of March 1, 2012! Why are they doing it, what is its purpose and does it matter?

And if you choose not to agree to the changes then you always have the option of closing your Google account.

From Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering at Google, comes this statement describing how these privacy policy changes will be good for you, the user:

"...But there’s so much more that Google can do to help you by sharing more of your information with … well, you. We can make search better—figuring out what you really mean when you type in Apple, Jaguar or Pink. We can provide more relevant ads too. For example, it’s January, but maybe you’re not a gym person, so fitness ads aren’t that useful to you. We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day. Or ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before. People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out..." (Source)

Some other initial thoughts from around the globe included this from the Washington Post:

"Data-protection agencies in Ireland and France said they would assess the implications of the push. At least one consumer-advocacy group fretted that the policy -- which makes it easier for Google to target advertisements to specific groups -- might tie users’ hands and make it harder for them to limit what the company can do with their information..." (Source)

And certainly no one know yet what hacker-group Anonymous will think but I am sure that in time they will make their feelings very well known.

If you are so inclined and would like to come to your own conclusions the new Google Privacy Policy can be read here.

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  1. I think that what google is doing is providing email and related services such as youtube for a fee. The fee, in this case, being the use of your personal information without paying compensation to you. Mailing lists, especially highly focused mailing lists are incredibly valuable.

    I, for one, am closing all of my google accounts.

    1. " We will not collect, sell, or share personally identifying information from ad serving cookies without your explicit consent."

  2. What google is doing is using your personal information as part of its mailing list that it will provide to sellers. Google will be paid for this, buy they will not be paying people who use their email, google+, youtube and other services for selling their names and purchasing preferences - so, they are stealing from their users.

    I am closing all of my google accounts.

  3. Unfortunately for bloggers like myself the cost of doing that may be too great.

    1. Unfortunately, there are not too many of us to understand this at the moment. If a community were started with the goal of shifting off google to a privacy-enabled environment, it might cause more of users think about what they really are. Especially without google.

  4. I am thinking of closing my Google Mail account and Blogger as it is owned or controlled by Google. I got rid of maps already and changed my search engines to other companies. I have deleted cookies and hidden LSO cookies too.

    May God grant us mercy.

  5. @Richard

    I don't think they sell your information. I think they use your information to target you with adds. And even if they do sell it, they are letting you use their services for free. Why shouldn't they be able to have targeted ads? I don't like the information they collect, but I like most of the services they have, so I am just careful about the information I give them.

    1. Correct they do not sell anyone's info.