Sep 042010
 September 4, 2010  Posted by  Online

When Google announced it was simplifying (but not substantively changing) its privacy policies, a lot of people thought this might be a good idea. But not everyone. Nick Bilton of the New York Times reports:

…..   In a post on Google’s company blog, Mike Yang, associate general counsel at Google, said the new policies would take effect on Oct. 3.

Mr. Yang was careful to note that it was the language and presentation that would be changing, not the privacy practices of the company, as part of an effort to make the policies “more transparent and understandable.”

Google has come under fire recently for the way it collects data on its users. On Thursday a consumer watchdog group released videos that accused the company of taking advantage of customers’ information and not allowing them to opt out of Google’s data collection online.

One of the key changes Google plans to make will compress policies across different Google products. As Google notes in its post: “Since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy.”

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said in an e-mail that these changes may not be good for Google users.

“The obvious problem with the revised privacy policy is that Google is now treating user data collection as part of an integrated platform. Previously, users could selectively reveal information to Google for the use of a particular service,” Mr. Rotenberg wrote. “The FTC needs to investigate these changes. This has significant implications for the privacy of Internet users who have previously provided personal information to Google.”

Read more in the New York Times.

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