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Google Enforces New Privacy Policy, Despite International Outcry About Its Implications

By , ONENEWSPAGE.COM

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

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Defying strong opposition from many consumer groups around the globe, Google is imposing its new privacy policy on two billion users today – Google account

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holders and Android phone users are affected

LONDON, United Kingdom — Internet giant Google has ignored calls to delay the roll-out of its controversial new privacy policy and is enforcing it today.

Profiting from personal user data
The new policy allows Google to cross-pollinate personal user data recorded on any of its 60 products, including Search, GMail, Google Maps and YouTube – thereby allowing the US company to build and store an accurate profile of its users’ behaviour and interests.

The detailed user profiles are then used to optimise user targeting of adverts – making them more personal and intrusive. Advertising is Google’s main source of income, which amounted to $8 billion in the last quarter of 2011.

Android smartphone users affected
Even users of smartphones and tablets using Google’s popular Android operating system are affected.

Enforced policy: No “opt out”
Google is offering its two billion users no option to “opt out” of its new privacy policy. Particularly Android phone users, who are typically locked into lengthy carrier contracts, are left with no option but to accept the new policy changes.

Concerns about legality
The controversial move comes after European Union authorities warned that the new privacy policy may violate European law. Similarly, authorities in Japan and

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Korea also warned about the possible illegality of the Google’s new privacy policy in their territories.

“Unfair and unwise”
Criticism of Google’s privacy policy changes also stemmed from consumer and data protection groups. A coalition of as many as 50 consumer groups in Europe and the U.S. labelled the new policy roll-out as “unfair and unwise” in a letter sent to Google CEO Larry Page.

“Spy policy”
Consumer protection body Consumer Watchdog called Google’s unified privacy policy a “spy policy”.

“Calling this a ‘privacy policy’ is Orwellian doublespeak,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “Google isn’t telling you about protecting your privacy. Google is telling you how they will gather information about you on all its services, combine it in new ways and use the fat new digital dossiers to sell more ads. They’re telling you how they plan to spy on you. It’s a spy policy.”

Intrusion on people’s privacy
British Conservative MP David Davis, a prominent campaigner on civil liberties, also voiced concerns.

“If the state collected the amount of information on individuals as Google does there would be uproar,” he was quoted by the Press Association as saying.

“If Google continues to deliberately and sometimes covertly intrude on people’s privacy then they are inviting countries to legislate to limit the freedom of action of all web companies,” Davis warned.

Google: “as strong as ever”
Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer rejected all criticism of his firm’s new privacy policy roll-out.

“As we’ve said several times over the past week, while our privacy policies will change on 1st March, our commitment to our privacy principles is as strong as ever,” Mr Fleischer wrote in a blog post.

Many industry followers have labelled Google’s move to enforce its new privacy policy despite a firestorm of controversy as aggressive.

Google has a poor track record when it comes to protecting user privacy.

In 2010 it emerged that Google had inadvertently been collecting WiFi packet data through its Street View cars.

More recently, the Internet giant has come under intense fire after it emerged it “bypassed Safari privacy protection” – tracking the web browsing history of millions of iPhone users.

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