Google, whose offerings include its flagship search product, Gmail, YouTube and Google+ products, announced on Tuesday that it was unifying 60 of its privacy policies. The company said it would “mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”
However, after the new policy comes into effect, user information from most Google products will be treated as a single trove of data, which the company could use for its targeted advertising dollars.
The lawmakers said the announcement raises questions about whether consumers will have enough power to opt-out of data sharing systems. They also asked what security steps are being taken to ensure the safety of customer data.
“While Google suggests that the purpose of this shift in policy is to make the consumer experience simpler, we want to make sure it does not make protecting consumer privacy more complicated,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Google Chief Executive Larry Page.
Republican signatories were representatives CLIFF STEARNS, Joe Barton and Marsha Blackburn.
Democratic signatories were representatives Markey, Henry Waxman, Dianne DeGette, G.K. Butterfield, and Jackie Speier, who has introduced privacy legislation.
Google, in a statement from policy manager Betsy Masiello, insisted on Thursday that users had “choice and control.”
“We’re not collecting more data about you. Our new policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve your experience on Google,” she wrote. “We’re making things simpler and we’re trying to be upfront about it. Period.”
Online privacy has come under scrutiny from Washington as a handful of web giants have been accused of compromising user privacy to attract advertisers.
U.S. regulators are reportedly looking into whether Google manipulates its search results to favor its own products and have expanded the probe to include Google+.
It’s about time that Congress took a closer look at Google. They have a clear track record of being more concerned with advertisers and income than they are with users privacy.
Scott Cleland, in his book “SEARCH & DESTROY, Why You Can’t Trust Google, Inc.”, states ” Google is turning the internet into Googletown: a place run by and for Google. You can click on whatever links you want, but nine times out of ten it is Google who determines what you get.”
“Google’s business model, privacy lip service, outrageous privacy violations, and extreme secrecy tell us that Google’s attitude is “Privacy fir me, radical transparency for thee”.
“Your privacy is not optional, frivolous or obsolete. Your privacy is essential to your personal freedom and security. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Thanks to Diane Bartz snd Lisa Richwine and Reuters, and
Thanks for listening.
The Neu Facebook