Google Ignores Cries of Regulators, Implements New Privacy Policy

By Beecher Tuttle March 01, 2012

Despite a series of warnings from governments foreign and domestic, Google followed through on its earlier pledge and implemented its new privacy policy on Thursday.

The highly controversial move accomplishes two main goals for the search giant. One: it replaces more than 60 different privacy policies with one overarching agreement that will govern over all Google services. The company has said that the overhaul is an effort to "tidy up" and create a policy that is more consistent, easier to read and easier to understand.

But while doing that, Google is also taking user information provided for one service and sharing it will all other Google products. So if you search for information on a musician, Google could then recommend related videos on YouTube or try to sell you a new album through its Web ads.

The move will have the most profound effect on Android users, whose location can be used in combination with other Google products. In a video introducing the new policy, Google brags about how it will now be able to tell you if you will be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and location traffic conditions – even if you don't want them to.

Helpful? Possibly. Creepy? Definitely.

Consumer interest groups and federal regulators have asked Google to suspend the move but have so far failed in their efforts.

France's regulatory body said that the new policy fails to meet the requirements of European Union data protection rules and asked Google to rework the document. The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) said in a letter to Google that it was "deeply concerned" with the manner in which personal data will be treated and has "strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness of such processing."

In a separate letter, Attorneys General from 36 individual states criticized the new policy, noting that it "goes against a respect for privacy that Google has carefully cultivated as a way to attract consumers." The letter also chastised Google for its advice to users who don't want the company snooping on them: stop using our services.

"It rings hollow to call [the ability of users] to exit the Google products ecosystem a 'choice' in an Internet economy where the clear majority of all Internet users use -- and frequently rely on -- at least one Google product on a regular basis," the letter read.

As of today, the new policy is in effect. The only real way to stop Google from following you around is to take their advice and close your Gmail account, stop using YouTube, switch to another search engine and buy an iPhone. Expect the fight to continue.




Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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