Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

Summary: Do you really think that Google, along with everyone else on the Web, hasn't been collecting your data for years now? Deal with it already.

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TOPICS: Google
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Google actually makes controling your personal information easy.

Google actually makes controlling your personal information easy.

On March 1st, Google is going to combine its 70 different product-specific privacy policies and terms of service into one super-duper privacy policy. You'd think from all the screaming out there that Google was kicking in your door, ripping your credit cards out of your wallet, and taking your children hostage. Would everyone please chill already!

Here are some simple facts for you" Yes, Google, especially if you use a lot of their services, such as Google Docs, Gmail or Google+ knows a lot about you. If you just search a lot on Google, Google knows a good deal about what interests you. So what! It's been that way since day one. If you use any Internet service or Web site a lot they know a lot about you.

How do most "free" Web sites pay for themselves? With advertising. How do they know what to advertise to you? By watching what interests you. Google does it. Microsoft does it. Everyone does it.

You do know, for example, that Microsoft is starting to incorporate your Facebook friends into Bing? This, in turn, is a lot like Google's awkwardly named Search plus Your World. Both co-ordinate your search results with what your friends find interesting. Like I said, if you're on the Web, and you're not taking extreme privacy protection messages, the big companies are already watching you closely.

In fact, if some of the people in such a tizzy about Google actually read Google's privacy policies, they'd discover that Google has always collected and used your information. What? Did you think those ads on the pages that had some sort of relevance to you appeared by magic?

Indeed, since at least 2005, Google claimed the right to "Combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services."

It seems Google didn't do that then, but they could have. Now, with more services than I can keep track of they've decided to officially combine all their user data. Why? Well, as they say in the draft of the new privacy agreement: "We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content - like giving you more relevant search results and ads. "

Is this really so dreadful that Google is finally bringing all this information together under one privacy policy umbrella? In fact since, unlike say Facebook where the privacy rules seem to change faster than Apple iPad 3 rumors, Google makes it easy to control what's what with your data with Google Dashboard.

If you don't like what Google knows about you, adjust your Dashboard settings. Don't like Google knowing about what you've been searching for? Go to your Google Web History page and hit the pause button, to keep it from grabbing any more of your searches, and then choose "Remove all Web history." Congrats. You're done.

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), among others like the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) still think Google's new unified privacy policy is awful. I really don't get this. 70 policies are better than one how exactly? Be that as it may, the CDD wants the Federal Trade Commission to postpone the roll-out of Google's new privacy policies. They claim that the changes are not designed to make a users life easier but are meant to just to help Google compete against Facebook, incorporate social media data and to boost Google's advertising business.

To which I say, "So?" Google is a business. Of course they want to do all those things and make their users happy in the process. Does anyone not know that while Google's first business is search it makes the vast majority of its profits from advertising??

Is Google perfect? Nope. While I dismiss Microsoft's latest privacy charges against Google as being so much FUD. I am concerned about how Google handled the Safari Web browser's tracking cookies and its slow progress on its Google Plus pseudonym policy implementation. That said, I like having one privacy policy instead of seventy policies and that, besides Dashboard, Google puts all its privacy tools into one easy to access Privacy tools page.

In short to everyone having fits about big, bad Google and its new privacy ways I can only say wake up and smell the coffee people. If you're on the Internet you're being tracked. As my good friend Rob Pegoraro puts it on Discovery News, "Doing almost anything online requires some faith that strangers will protect your data as it traverses their servers. You don't have to trust Google, but you have to trust someone." I choose to trust Google.

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Topic: Google

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227 comments
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  • RE: Google???s new privacy rules: Get over it already

    Get over your love affair with Google.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

      @Rabid Howler Monkey No kidding! It is this attitude that is allowing companies to do this stuff. Truth is, no company is collecting info at the level Google is. Google is pretty nasty!
      apetti
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @apetti

        "Truth is, no company is collecting info at the level Google is."

        No, but they are trying the damnest to.
        Bozzer
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @apetti
        Fortunately, it's easy to disable: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/how-remove-your-google-search-history-googles-new-privacy-policy-takes-effect
        Englishmole
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @apetti <br>I failed to see any wrongdoing when the user accepted the terms of service in exchange for an outstanding service. That's nothing when compared to M$ or apple's dirty deeds like instigating the authorities against google:http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/22/tech/web/google-privacy-attorneys-general/index.html
        The Linux Geek
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @The Linux Geek - accepting TOS is an excuse? Where in the TOS does it say that giggle has the right to change those terms, at will, without the users' opportunity to agree to those new terms or NOT.
        sackbut
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @apetti Were you continually dropped on your head as an infant?

        Hitler was nasty. Osama bin Laden was nasty. George W. Bush is nasty.

        Google's sole purpose is to make money. There are tons of alternatives out there. If you don't like Google, select a different service.
        mschauber
      • @Sackbut

        [i]Where in the TOS does it say that giggle has the right to change those terms, at will, without the users' opportunity to agree to those new terms or NOT.[/i]

        Right here:

        [b]19. Changes to the Terms

        19.1 Google may make changes to the Universal Terms or Additional Terms from time to time. When these changes are made, Google will make a new copy of the Universal Terms available at http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS?hl=en and any new Additional Terms will be made available to you from within, or through, the affected Services.

        19.2 You understand and agree that if you use the Services after the date on which the Universal Terms or Additional Terms have changed, Google will treat your use as acceptance of the updated Universal Terms or Additional Terms.

        April 16, 2007[/b]






        :)
        none none
      • Ode to the The Linux Creep

        @The Linux Geek
        First of all, I am not sure how Microsoft or Apple is instigating at all. They are only reacting to a company???s unethical behavior. You cannot possibly think Google didn't know what they were doing when they decided to bypass security features. No matter how good or bad the bypassed security feature is; the fact is, Google acted unethically by making the decision to bypass them. Congress is reacting to the unethical behavior that Google decided to display. It is this behavior the sheds light on things like the privacy statement.
        As for accepting the privacy agreement... I am willing to bet that a majority of Google users haven???t read the privacy statement, and I bet that includes you.
        Relax, it's OK. I promise.
        apetti
    • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      Nice argumentation. You totally convinced me. If you don't like their product don't use them.
      Jean-Pierre-
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @Jean-Pierre- You're correct, I don't like Google's Spywares (hidden on their "products") so I do not use them (most of time).<br><br>But true is that all users most know what kind of "big brother" and bussiness with out morality or respect to us is Google, so, each one decide use it or not.
        BRomeroT@...
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @Jean-Pierre- Exactly!! And never forget Google is not a Software company but a Pubs/Adds company... so stop comparing Google with Microsoft and Apple... Microsoft and Apple are not Pubs/Adds companies and never do what Google do like Google do it and for the reason Google doing it so...

        Don??t be fool! Stop using Google's stuff if you don't want it to know the color of you underwear and at what minutes you change them...
        EricDeBerg
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @Jean-Pierre- Fair. I don't. Except youtube, so they can combine now all my info from youtube.
        kiwi704
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @Jean-Pierre-
        I take it you do not watch television either, because most TV channels get their income just the way, Google does, by advertising. I would rather get advertising for things that I buy, rather than women's underwear and cosmetics. I would rather get advertisements for health supplements which I do use rather than prescription poisons from pharmaceutical companies. The more Google and other advertisers know about my preferences, the more interesting and useful, rather than repulsive the advertisements become.
        arminw
    • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      Your info is safer with google than any other company, especially M$ and apple.
      The Linux Geek
      • Leave the booze alone until your away from your computer.

        @The Linux Geek

        Once again you establish that you either don't have a clue what your talking about or you simply could care less what you say and how foolish you look.
        Cayble
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @The Linux Geek
        Guess you don't read the news Oh wait, your a freetard you only can do selective reading.

        http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/02/17/google_reportedly_ignoring_safari_users_privacy_settings_to_better_track_its_ads.html

        http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2012/02/20/google-bypassing-user-privacy-settings.aspx

        http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61989.html

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/03/google-fined-france-maps-free

        Ya google is safer to who? the stockholder maybe. Google cannot be trusted they have a proven record of being fined and for lying.
        Stan57
    • Sounds like you need to get over it.....

      @Rabid Howler Monkey

      Do you realise that your ISP knows as much, if not more than Google does about you? And that they will turn over that data in a flash when the government ask for it. At least when Google was asked for that info, they held out for over a year, and what they did submit, was very heavily edited with a lot of missing data held back.

      I can give you a list of over 20 sites that have enough information on you, that Google does not have. The information on those sites are SCARY.

      Take the proper precautions and don't put anything out there that you don't want seen on the internet.The only way to not have these sites get info, is to never get on the net. So grow up and stop whining.
      linux for me
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @linux for me OK List the sites for us...
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Google's new privacy rules: Get over it already

        @linux for me "Do you realise that your ISP knows as much, if not more than Google does about you? And that they will turn over that data in a flash when the government ask for it."

        Not in Canada they can't....we're fighting a bill right now that is trying to give that power to any law enforcement officer without a warrant!! You should read up on how Twitter has been used to make out Privacy Minister look like the complete ^&%$&^%*&% he is ;-)
        ColdFusion_z