Friday, March 02, 2012

Privacy & Google

There's a lot of hullabaloo about Google's new privacy policy that kicked in, effective yesterday. As I leafed through some pointers, a few mentions, I thought, were worth making a post, given that there is an increasing blur in the lines that divide an individual's privacy and the public domain at large.

I found these quite interesting, so to speak.

Is there a way to prevent Google from combining the personal data it collects from all its services?

No, not if you're a registered user of Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, or other Google products. But you can minimise the data Google gathers.

It's important to keep in mind that Google can still track you even when you're not logged in to one of its services.

But the information isn't quite as revealing because Google doesn't track you by name, only through a numeric internet address attached to your computer or an alphanumeric string attached to your Web browser.

Is Google's new privacy policy legal?

The company has no doubt about it. That's why it's repeatedly rebuffed pleas to delay the changes since announcing the planned revisions five weeks ago. But privacy activists and even some legal authorities have several concerns.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy rights group, sued the FTC in a federal court in an effort to force the FTC to exercise its powers and block Google's privacy changes.

A federal judge ruled the courts didn't have the authority to tell the FTC how to regulate Google. The FTC says it is always looking for evidence that one of its consent orders has been violated.

Earlier this week, the French regulatory agency CNIL warned Google CEO Larry Page that the new policy appears to violate the European Union's strict data-protection rules.

Last week, 36 attorneys general in the US and its territories derided the new policy as an "invasion of privacy" in a letter to Page.

One of the major gripes is that registered Google users aren't being given an option to consent to, or reject, the changes, given that they developed their dependence on the services under different rules.


Excerpts from a slideshow article on Google's privacy policy featured in the Times of India

No comments:

Post a Comment