Use Google? No Privacy!
Do you use an Android smartphone or Gmail? Do you search the Web with Google? What about YouTube or Google Docs? Most of us are very accustomed to using at least one of these — all part of Google — every day.
On Tuesday, Google announced a major change in the way it handles your data and your privacy, saying it wants to provide “a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”
Beginning March 1, Google will create a single profile for you by combining all your activity from any of Google’s 60+ Internet services like Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google+, etc. (except Google Wallet, the Chrome browser and Google Books).
Google says a combined account will provide you with more accurate search results, better targeted ads, and useful calendar reminders. We think not.
No, I’m not naive to the fact that Google (or any other data user/provider) stores each and every little piece of information that goes across their servers. But, a major problem with the new policy is that Google doesn’t plan to offer an “opt-out” — so individual users have no way to even try to keep their information, browsing habits, schedules, etc. out of Google’s new profiles.
“There is no way a user can comprehend the implication of Google collecting across platforms for information about your health, political opinions and financial concerns,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.
Congress is already hearing from constituents. Democrat Rep. Ed Markey (Massachusetts), co-chair of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, said he has issues with the policy change, adding, “it’s imperative that users will be able to decide whether they want their information shared across the spectrum of Google’s offerings.”