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Google Consolidates Privacy Policies Across Services

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the targetted-advertising-is-awesome dept.

Google 239

parallel_prankster writes "The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Google will require users to allow the company to follow their activities across e-mail, search, YouTube, and other services; a radical shift in strategy that is expected to invite greater scrutiny of its privacy and competitive practices. The information will enable Google to develop a fuller picture of how people use its growing empire of Web sites. Consumers will have no choice but to accept the changes. The policy will take effect March 1 and will also impact Android mobile phone users. 'If you're signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services,' Alma Whitten, Google's director of privacy, product, and engineering, wrote in a blog post." The angle of the Washington Post article is a bit negative; Google sees this as consolidating an absurd number of privacy policies for its various services into a single, unified document. Reader McGruber adds: "Donald E. Graham, the Washington Post's chairman and CEO, joined Facebook's Board of Directors in January 2009. Curiously, the Washington Post article neglects to disclose that."

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evil is as evil does (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817841)

Of course the article is a tad negative, Google's new unprivacy policy sucks. Facebook sucks too, doesn't matter who's president of which corp.

But I will be nice and point out that this happened at the same time FB's Blakeboy blasted Google [slashdot.org] for being evil.

Re:evil is as evil does (5, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818003)

People need to wake up and realize there is no "free" service. Google provides things that cost them substantial dollars to create and maintain but users do not directly pay for. Your information is what you trade for Google's services. No one is forced or coerced into using Google's services. There are alternatives out there that you can pay for and expect lock your privacy down.

It is no different than anything else. There is a restaurant in town I will not go to because their service is pitiful. I refuse to support their model with my dollars. If you don't like Google's practices, you are free to take your private information to another email/search/whatever provider.

Of course most of this is wasted thought, because many of those complaining about Google violating their privacy just updated their location from their phone, posted what they had for breakfast on Facebook, and tweeted details of their morning bowel movement.

Re:evil is as evil does (5, Funny)

Whalou (721698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818035)

Of course most of this is wasted thought, because many of those complaining about Google violating their privacy just updated their location from their phone, posted what they had for breakfast on Facebook, and tweeted details of their morning bowel movement.

You must be one of my followers.

Re:evil is as evil does (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818111)

I had a doozy of a deuce today. A real bowl filler. The top of it rose out of the water, like a Hawaiian island

Mahalo!

Re:evil is as evil does (4, Insightful)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818135)

You could always Opt-Out
http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/html/intl/en/plugin/

Re:evil is as evil does (3, Insightful)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818455)

I already opt out of everything new they've been doing as possible. However they appear to be determined to alter what I see based on my actions, "helping" me.

It's already marginal as to what I'm able to opt out of, and it's rapidly getting worse. Their vision of internet utopia doesn't match mine.

Re:evil is as evil does (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818793)

Facebook, and increasingly Google, ARE personal information vendors. Compiling your personal information and selling it to advertisers, or the promise that they will be able to do this in the future, are the basis for their market cap.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818815)

At least I can use fake names. They've created a really nice email/youtube/google profile of a guy named Hick Dead (until either Google or Congress outlaws that practice)

Re:evil is as evil does (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818957)

Didn't you ever think they are not bothered if they know your real name or not, the adverts they target at Hick Dead are just as relevant to you anyway, assuming that what you view on utube, google or have in your inbox reflect your views and purchasing decisions

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818137)

I don't disagree with the sentiment of your post, but it's more like if your restaurant with pitiful service was the biggest restaurant in town and no other restaurants could ever hope to get a foothold in your town. Every now and again we hear some small guy trying to create a new search engine and then we never hear from them again. Today, unless you are a major corporation with deep pockets, the chances of breaking into the web search business is nearly zero. The other services they provide maybe somewhat more competitive, but often not by much.

Having said that, I only have a gmail account with Google. I don't sign in to Google for searching or have accounts on any of their other services (at least I think, it's hard to keep track of what they do own nowadays).

Re:account (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818229)

Okay, so now I'm glad that I kept my email with Yahoo.

At least it makes it a *little* harder to do the "total profile" if it's cross competitors. Of course I might have to worry about Microsoft pulling this stunt, but that's at least next month's problem, not today's.

So okay:
Yahoo Mail, Startpage (Proxied-Or-Something Google search), Youtube. So I can keep the divisions of duties separate.

If I want "Google's nice targetted ads" I'll think about a "Honeypot" account.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818627)

While it's true that the barrier is high, it's not impossible and there is competition. That isn't the problem. The problem is that the web is "free" and almost no one would pay for search. Because of that, advertisement is the only viable method to keep such a site alive like the majority of web sites. That means that targeted ads are the natural course (higher ad sales) and will always be. It's not margarine vs butter, it's butter vs butter where the only difference is taste. Unless the majority is willing to pay for content, the only options is to limit how much information you expose.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818881)

Your chance of breaking into the web search business is hardly zero. You can create a crawler, provide a web interface and allow people to search your indexes for as much as you'd like to charge (hopefully you include hosting fees and data warehousing in those figures...) If you want to charge $0 for it, the only barrier to you getting in the search business isn't Google. It's finding funds to power your servers. Google isn't preventing you from doing any of that. Heck, I can go home right now and "break into the web search business" by coding up a crawler, and setting up an old computer for a web server for the cost of my time.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819023)

And absolutely nobody will use it. Which is hardly "breaking in".

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819119)

So, if I open a restaurant down the street and nobody visits my new restaurant it's McDonalds fault because they are the biggest restaurant chain in the world and somehow (simply because of their size?) they are preventing people from visiting your door?

Re:There is a restaurant in town I will not go to (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818173)

The difference is that Restaurants don't (normally!) log you as a customer, match your name on an email lookup, then email you to come back or something.

The problem with all of this is that email is "private info type 1" to coin a phrase, aka communication you sent to specific people and *no one else*. Youtube is "private info type 2" which is that you secretly relieve stress by watching Chad Vader episodes on YouTube (to pick a harmless example.) I WANT a little separation between those two activities!

It's the world's greatest Blackmail Engine. For a fee.

"Google AntiReputation Services, how can I help you?"
"Yes, I'd like some dirt on Chris Dodd."
"Okay, looking now. He likes to eat potatoes dipped in tuna salad, and wears Baby Blue underwear on the days of his most important votes."

Re:There is a restaurant in town I will not go to (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818929)

Of course they log you as a customer... have you ever used your credit card number to buy food? You got logged in their accounts receivable. It may not be your email address, but they can get in contact with you via that number. It may be a layer of abstraction, but technically so is a SPAM filter.

Re:There is a restaurant in town I will not go to (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818943)

>>>It's the world's greatest Blackmail Engine.

Also government spy resource and censorship: âoeUS government authorities called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down..... The reason listed for the removal of one You Tube video in one instance is âoegovernment criticismâ. The exact identity or content of the video is not divulged. The report states that the removal requests pertaining to âoepolice brutalityâ were done on the grounds of âoedefamationâ.....

"The number of âoeItems requested to be removedâ by US authorities was almost seven-fold the number requested to be removed by Chinese authorities, a country much maligned for its Internet censorship policies....."

"These figures illustrate how governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are getting more aggressive in pushing for web censorship as the state increasingly tries to strangle the last bastion of true free speech, the Internet"

http://www.infowars.com/feds-order-you-tube-to-remove-video-for-containing-government-criticism/ [infowars.com]

Re:evil is as evil does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818183)

Ah, but is there -- in fact -- such a web portal? One which does not track everything they can, one which does not sell that information, one that takes an active interest in its users' anonymity?

Re:evil is as evil does (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818473)

Yes but will you now admit that "do no evil" is no different and just as much bullshit as "think different" or "What do you want to do today?" (had to go look that last one up, wow MSFT sucks at catch phrases don't they?) because all three are NOTHING but marketing BS. If Google could make an extra 15% by throwing a random Google user into a pit of horny gorillas i have no doubt we'd be seeing gorilla loving on YouTube before the day was out. it doesn't matter HOW a company starts out once they get to a certain level there is simply too large and powerful an org there to be controlled by some silly catch phrase, no different than how Apple is nothing like that garage that Woz and Jobs hand built the first boards in.

What scares me isn't this so much as i expected this would be coming, but the quite disturbing 'treat corporations like ballclubs' complete with cheering and booing. These companies aren't FOR you, hell the ballclubs aren't FOR you as khan let slip with his "I only care about season ticket holders" gaffe, so cheering and booing these corps is not only stupid but more than a little dangerous because it gives these corps more power. If congress started investigating Google how many letters do you think would be wrote telling them to /slips blanket over head/ "Leave poor Google alone" do you think? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? as the economies of the world continue to sour these corps are gonna get nastier folks, once they are used to making X profits they simply aren't gonna settle for X-Y which is why we got the *.A.As pushing SOPA/PIPA because god forbid they don't meet the quarterly earnings reports, so please, judge companies by their douchebag behavior, not some marketing slogan.

Re:evil is as evil does (0)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818795)

so please, judge companies by their douchebag behavior, not some marketing slogan

I assume you must have read my post as being pro-Google. It was neither pro-Google or anti-Google. The idea is that Google is only as evil as their customers allow them to be. If one feels Google's policies are unacceptable, they should not use Google's services. If enough users do the same, Google will get the message and change.

I do recognize there is no "one stop shop" that offers everything Google does with a privacy policy that most would find locked down enough to be "good". This is a golden business opportunity for someone. Create !Google that does everything Google does without asking for any information in return.

I hear the naysayers already and I agree such a service is unlikely to to work. Without advertising the service would be fee based, and the reality is that 98%+ of the population is perfectly happy to trade their privacy for free email and hilarious cat videos on Youtube. Yeah, quite a few say that doesn't describe them, but they still use gmail as their primary email and link the Youtube video of their cutest-in-the-world cat on their Facebook page while tweeting what color underwear they are wearing today.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819043)

>>>"quite disturbing 'treat corporations like ballclubs' complete with cheering and booing"

This is nothing new. In technology it goes all the way back to the Atari versus Commodore versus IBMPC versus Apple battles. Nintendo versus Sega. Or even earlier: Atari versus Intellivision. Or among rednecks: Ford vs. Dodge. Battling over corporations is a favorite passtime.

"Do no evil"

doesn't work because most evil is performed by people who think they are doing good. Google execs probably thinks the unified tracking policy is genuinely a good thing for the users.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818821)

Of course, they'll still get a huge amount of information on you from your friends which use Google, and from any presence you have on the web at all. I eventually decided that the information they could get from my e-mail was minor compared to the benefits of Gmail. This is particularly true since they already got most of my e-mails since my friends used Google.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

csumpi (2258986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818963)

" There are alternatives out there that you can pay for and expect lock your privacy down."

There are? Can you give an example of a hosted email, calendar and contacts service that have good integration on multiple platforms (win, mac, ios, android) where your privacy is guaranteed?

So far the best way I found is to self host these services. And even then I'm not sure if the emails I receive are not data mined on the sender side, or somewhere on the wire between his/her and my email servers.

Electronic privacy is gone. If some information needs to stay private, don't make an electronic version of it.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

edrobinson (976396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819127)

Yes and Google does not make a dime on all the advertising.

Re:evil is as evil does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38819153)

I'm ok with that, what i dont want them doing is directing my search requests based on what i watch on youtube sometimes or what some moreon spam list i get added too.

Re:evil is as evil does (3, Insightful)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818031)

I have to be signed in to be able to disable as much of the personalization crap as possible to have some semblance of the Google that I used to love. Also to subscribe in Youtube and view 18+ videos.

What I don't want is them changing anything I enter or changing what I see based on anything about me. But they are bound and determined to do exactly that.

I don't want to be helped. Show me ads relevant to content, but leave me out of it.

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818207)

What I don't want is them changing anything I enter or changing what I see based on anything about me. But they are bound and determined to do exactly that.

That's my biggest problem with Google search, The words that I type to search are not the words that are used to produce the results. There used to be a link on Google Search that would provide results to your literal input, but I can't find that link anymore. What is the point of doing a search for me if you don't use the input that I provide?

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

CycleMan (638982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819227)

Try DuckDuckGo. Yes, it's not Google in so many ways. And their selling point is "We don't track or bubble (filter based on past history) you."

Re:evil is as evil does (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818059)

Google's new unprivacy policy sucks.

In what way? I'm not saying it doesn't; I have no idea what the issues are or are claimed to be. Just saying that there's one policy now instead of many before doesn't seem to be a problem - in fact it increases the chance that a user can take the time to understand the policy that applies. Does it allow disclosure of data that wasn't permitted before? Or use by staff who wouldn't have had access before? What are the actual changes in policy language that achieve this?

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818547)

RTFS! I skimmed through the summary and I'm under the impression that they would be intergrating their knowledge about you from their different services better.

Better for them, to better be able to manipulate you more efficiently.

They're like Hari Seldon, but more about the individual and (probably) more about making you do stuff they'd like you to do (such as purchasing more of one product or another) than about figuring out where we're all headed. And they're in it to exploit you, unlike Hari Seldon. They are pretty much not like Hari Seldon, but in the same kind of field anyway, figuring you out.

I may be wrong, though. Maybe I glanced at the summary too fleetingly and misunderstood something. I don't know what exact words the summary displayed. We may never know....

Re:evil is as evil does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818981)

RTFS! I skimmed through the summary and I'm under the impression that they would be intergrating their knowledge about you from their different services better.

RMP. I didn't ask what impression the summary made. Are you saying that their new policy allows them to integrate the data and that their previous policies did not? Or if not then can you point me to a source that is saying that (not just giving you that impression, please)?

Re:evil is as evil does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818091)

Of course the article is a tad negative, Google's new unprivacy policy sucks. Facebook sucks too, doesn't matter who's president of which corp.

But I will be nice and point out that this happened at the same time FB's Blakeboy blasted Google [slashdot.org] for being evil.

Well it seems like it was a good move on my part to use completely fictional email addresses and postal addresses to register with google Oh and good luck on tracing the IP address last time i checked it was 500 miles out ..

Re:evil is as evil does (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818157)

Alright: the article says two things:

  1. Google is creating a single, simple, privacy policy (GOOD!)
  2. The policy includes provisions that allow Google to share data with Google - that is, if you go to site.owned-by-google.com, and then go to also.owned-by-google.com, Google will use the information that you put on both sites, consolidate it, and use it to select what ads to show you. (OH NOES! BAAAD!)

Now, the billion dollar question: the second point is a surprise to me and probably 99% of the people here. Why? Because I pretty much thought Google already did that. I mean, why wouldn't they? When I'm on GMail and Google Maps and Google Plus I have a big bar on the top of the screen reminding me I'm logged into the Google.

Is it evil? Well, depends really on what they do with that information. If they make an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield that anyone searching for the words "Cancer symptoms" will automatically have their name, address, and social security number sent to blacklist@bcbs.com, then yeah. If, on the other hand, they use it so that ads.google.com/showad.pl?customer=wb serves an ad for "Underworld" because you watched all the vampire shows on Youtube, received email from someone called "megagoth@yahoo.com", and did a Google images search for "women in black latex catsuits", then so what?

And there's the rub. We pretty much know what Google does with this information. It's using it to select ads for us to see. I can see how collecting data enables Google to do evil, but I don't think collecting data requires Google do evil. Google can keep the information private, and use it to provide a service that's useful for advertisers and, to some extent, advertisees alike. That's not evil. And to the best of my knowledge (that is, nobody's reported evidence of the contrary) that's what Google does.

I really don't see this as being anything other than another fake controversy covering a company that's made a lot of enemies lately.

Re:evil is as evil does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818879)

And when I used to post on my livejournal, it would only show me tampon ads?

Re:evil is as evil does (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819107)

They also force new users to open Youtube and Google+ social accounts they don't want. (And then post your activities from Youtube/Google+ to stranger's search results of your name.)

Re:evil is as evil does (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819195)

That's not actually true. There's a box you can uncheck on the initial signup page that allows you to opt out of creating a profile, and, further, even if you create one, you can immediately delete it.

But yes, Slashdot did report, falsely, that very allegation earlier today, and it rather emphasizes my point: a lot of bogus negative stories about a company that's made a lot of enemies lately.

Can we limit criticizing Google to things it actually does, for example, it's awful search engine?

google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38817843)

sucks

So what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38817859)

And why should the article disclose that? Oh right, we must find someway to discredit anyone saying anything negative about The Holy Google (peace be upon it).

Great idea (3, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817881)

I think this is a great idea for both users and the company. Users have only a single place that they have to go to for their privacy concerns. Likewise for the company they only have to have corporate counsel review one privacy policy instead of several. The company saves money and the consumer saves hassle.

Note that I'm only talking about the idea of consolidating the privacy policies themselves. I am not talking about the merit of whether or not the privacy policy is a good one or not.

Re:Great idea (5, Insightful)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817965)

The explanation as given makes an awful lot of sense. Simply put, as they've purchased many of the products they're offering, they've had mulitple privacy statements. All that is happening now is that they're finally consolidating those items into "Google" tm itself, thus they can finally simplify and consolidate many of the privacy statements into a single version, which in my mind is a "Good Thing" as I'll be able to follow any changes to those services I use on a daily basis.

One thing I've always figured is that Google was using any and all of the information they have collected on me to target their ads to me so this actually pleases me because I don't have to look all over the place for each services privacy statement to know what they actually collect and how they use it. It is important to note that as they've said, some products/services have regulatory compliance issues, thus they will retain individual privacy statements in order to comply with those regulations.

Re:Great idea (3, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818177)

I don't think a single privacy policy is the problem. Clearly that'll be a good thing. I think what people are objecting to is that the policy in question will mix your data from each of those Google services together which (somewhat surprisingly) they don't currently do. So now your search history will be linked to your e-mail and to your YouTube viewing. [Some] people are uncomfortable with that.

Hmm (5, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817905)

I actually assumed they already did this (used your email to determine what ads you saw on search and such).

Either way, personally it doesn’t bug me too much. If they were selling the information it might.. but as long as they keep it in house and it’s all being processed by automated algorithms I’ve got no qualms.

That’s not to say I don’t recognize other people might have issues with this, and I definitely don’t subscribe to the whole “if you have nothing to hide” nonsense. This is just my personal view. Some people want privacy and they don’t (nor should they) need a reason.

Re:Hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818001)

as long as [...] it’s all being processed by automated algorithms I’ve got no qualms

I never understood this line of thinking. Do you think any data-mining companies process data by hand?

Re:Hmm (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818057)

Kind of my point.

I know there isn't some guy peering through my search history and reading my email.. having a chuckle at my expense. It's an algorithm counting the number of times I said "guitar" over the last few years, matching it up in some tables, and showing me ads for rocksmith (which btw I bought and is actually pretty neat.. sometimes web ads are effective!).

If they start selling the data to choicepoint, then it's a different story.

Re:Hmm (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818187)

Completely off-topic, but have you tried Rock Band 3's Pro Guitar (the real one, not the mustang), and if so, how does Rocksmith compare?

I have a Rock Band 3 Fender Squier Stratocaster - the actual guitar, and Rock Band 3 really nails it. The software is excellent, and the fretboard sensors really help you learn quickly. Plus it helps I've got like 150 songs availible (out of my 600+ collection for Rock Band). I've heard people saying that Rocksmith performs well, and given the impossibility of getting the Squier at the moment, it may be the only option in a lot of places.

Re:Hmm (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818403)

Haven't tried Rock Band 3. I mainly bought rocksmith as it let me use the guitar I already have.

I _suspect_ the Rock Band 3 experience is probably a little better due to actually having sensors in the fret board. There are some things rocksmith can't pull off due to getting all it's data purely from sound. You can play different forms of chords and get away with it for instance.

That said, I was quite impressed with how much stuff they do pull off. What they have works damn near flawlessly, and the sound modeling is impressive (it's worth it just for the software amp .. then again I've used rakarrack as a practice amp for a while so maybe my standards are low).

The game itself doesn't have the same "game" feel as I imagine rockband does. You play over very generic crowd visuals and don't see your own character. You can't "fail" a song .. there's no "overdrive" or such. It feels more like a learning tool with some game elements than a game with some learning elements.

Ultimately I imagine you get what you put into it. If you go into it with the intention of learning or improving, but "cheat" based on limitations of the technology.. why even bother.

Re:Hmm (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818541)

Yeah, being able to use any Guitar is really a big plus - I imagine it's something we'll see in Rock Band 4 (albeit Harmonix have stated that RB4 won't be happening for a while - they are just re-releasing Rock Band 3 at the moment, IIRC).

The difference between game an learning tool is an interesting one. Rock Band 3 nails both pretty well, as they have the time to get the gameplay right, and Pro mode is implemented well. I might have to pick up Rocksmith and give it a try, as the Squier will work with it like any other Guitar. It would be cool to have a software amp, as I don't have a physical one - not being a Guitar player except for Rock Band's pro mode. Although the differences in 'notation' might mess with me.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818197)

...right up until the point you are searching Google at work and it starts flashing up ads for midget porn based on that mailing list you signed up for in your personal gmail account.

Re:Hmm (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818515)

...right up until the point you are searching Google at work and it starts flashing up ads for midget porn based on that mailing list you signed up for in your personal gmail account.

Turn on safe search.

Re:Hmm (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819049)

I was being facetious with my choice of "midget porn". There could be any number of embarrassing things or just things you don't want your co-workers to know about that aren't blocked by safe search.

Re:Hmm (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819185)

I was being facetious with my choice of "midget porn". There could be any number of embarrassing things or just things you don't want your co-workers to know about that aren't blocked by safe search.

Agreed. Either keep your work and personal accounts separate (which might actually improve the personalization in both contexts) or else opt out of personalization if there are things you don't want to bleed over.

Re:Hmm (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818039)

I thought they did that regardless of you being signed in or not.. maybe that's the way they used to do it? with cookies, but perhaps that would have soon been illegal in some locales, whereas using your signed in information is not?

the question again is does the tracking end when you log out.

Re:Hmm (5, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818119)

I thought they did that regardless of you being signed in or not.. maybe that's the way they used to do it? with cookies, but perhaps that would have soon been illegal in some locales, whereas using your signed in information is not?

the question again is does the tracking end when you log out.

The privacy policy is pretty clear, I think. Yes they use cookies to track you even when you're not signed in, and they try to connect that with you when you do sign in. If you want to ensure Google never tracks you, you can opt out using their privacy tools. That will install a "do not track" cookie which will cause Google to discard all of that data, except where they aggregate it into statistics that are in no way connectable to you. Unfortunately, various actions can cause that "do not track" cookie to be lost, so if you want to be really sure install Google's "keep my opt outs" extension, which will ensure the cookie is always present.

Re:Hmm (3, Informative)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818275)

the question again is does the tracking end when you log out.

Yes, Google tracks you all over the place
But you can Opt-Out
http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/html/intl/en/plugin/

Always always always ask permission. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38817907)

The concept itself isn't bad, and even something I, personally would use. The major issue is that doing ANYTHING with personal info without user consent is a really bad idea, no matter how benign it may or may not be in application. One does hope that enough negative feedback on this policy would be enough to shift the implementation to something less...well...evil.

Re:Always always always ask permission. (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818017)

I think you kind of do consent to it.

When you sign up for an account, you agree to their privacy policy and TOS, which spells out how they will use your data.

I guess on products where you don't need an account (like search) they could prompt you or something (vice the little link to their terms and privacy policy at the bottom) but beyond that, what would you look for in "requiring user consent"?

Re:Always always always ask permission. (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818343)

What I need is a Terms Of Service for myself that, Google needs to agree to before accepting me as a User

The amazing thing (4, Insightful)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817927)

is that people are surprised or even upset about this.

Google is an ad company, nothing more. Of course they're going to grub for every last iota of personal information they can -- it's what they do.

Re:The amazing thing (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818047)

Why shouldn't they be. In some countries, you know, outside of the US. Cross-product tracking is still...illegal, and requires written or verbal permission before a change like this can happen.

Re:The amazing thing (2)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819199)

Why shouldn't they be?:

legally (current terms of service, not the new one):

By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit...

morally:
Google makes no effort to hide the fact that they use your information to sell ads, anyone who finds it objectionable that they continue to do so was a fool to sign up in the first place. They've done nothing wrong by finding further use for the data that you have already willingly given to them (with the full knowledge that they are using to that end).

financially:
Google is providing a service that has some worth tied to it (there are many ways you could value it, but all or nearly all would find a non-zero value). You are in exchange providing them the opportunity to use that data in any way they see fit in order to continue the cycle. If you find this thought objectionable you should not be using the services and should instead pay actual money for services elsewhere.

you know who google is now? (0, Offtopic)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817931)

google is the NSA's bitch

Re:you know who google is now? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818233)

google is the NSA's bitch

Right. The NSA cares about which You Tube video you watch. It cares about which dodgy web site you go to (the ones with the midgets AND the horses). They care that you spend hours looking at DD bra advertisements.

Give it up. Nobody cares about you. I don't. Your mom doesn't and the NSA certainly doesn't.

Re:you know who google is now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818633)

Give it up. Nobody cares about you. I don't. Your mom doesn't and the NSA certainly doesn't.

only because their (collectively referring to 3 letter agencies) automated analysis systems with access to all this data do not care, for typical cases of $you. As those systems expand, so will the false positive rate.

Re:you know who google is now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818983)

actually, managing cattle is the one and only business that's left.

"they" don't care about one person, but certainly about millions of them.

so, nice try, but now you can go fuck off and munch dirt.

this is new? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817953)

It sucks since they hadn't been doing it before, but I honestly thought they would have been doing across all of their products all along.

Is this some strange new definition of 'No Choice' (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817971)

Consumers will have no choice but to accept the changes.

... Or use a competitor... Or sign out before searching... etc...

Sheesh. You and other sheeple will have no choice, but the rest of us will be just fine.

Re:Is this some strange new definition of 'No Choi (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818033)

Sure I have a choice - I can buy myself out of my mobile phone contract and pay the early termination fees (which is the monthly tariff times the number of months left on the contract, several hundred pounds) and get a non-Android based phone, or I can put up with it.

Not much of a choice if you ask me.

Re:Is this some strange new definition of 'No Choi (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818145)

Why do you need to do that? I have an Android phone, and the only thing connected to Google on it that I use is the Market (and there are ones like the Amazon Market that I could use instead, so even that's optional). Everything else was pretty easy to replace.

good riddance. (0)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38817999)

bye bye, google. seems like the spineless clowns who made you OD'ed at last.

Re:good riddance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818085)

Yeah, Google will NEVER survive such a policy. If there is one thing people will crucify a company for any semblance of interest in your personal data. I'd hate to live in a world where information farms like Facebook were popular.

Re:good riddance. (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818437)

I don't give a flying fuck what other people do. in my books, google went from being cool to being "meh" to being "bah, that's what I was referring to, and that is 100% correct. they overdosed on their shiny stupid stuff -- they are now lying dead in an alley, covered in piss. what their situation is in your world is none of my concern.

You can easily opt out (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818007)

Just stop using Google products and tell that David Drummond asshole why you chose to do that.

Re:You can easily opt out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818239)

Why was this comment modded down? Is that you David? Well, fuck you. Everyone that works for you knows what an arrogant asshole you are.

--
Glass, fuck David Drummond in the ass.

NEWSFLASH: Doctor makes money from sick. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818055)

In a shock revelation this morning, journalists from McGruber "but I haven't told you where my interests lie" Inc. have uncovered credible information that doctors - professionals who spend much of their time administering advice, medication and surgery to sick people - also make money from providing these services. A spokesperson for doctors has been consulted to ask her why it is that all sentences uttered by doctors do not include a clear and explicit statement of this obvious conflict of interest.

Professor of Internet Argument Steve Meretzky at the University of Life states, "We have no idea why doctors have gone so long without admitting this. It opens them up to immediate defeat by ad hominem and a warm, smug glow on the face of the other party." The Professor then suggested that the warm, smug glow could be reinterpreted by doctors as a sign of illness and used to sell patients more unnecessary healthcare.

Rep. Simon Schama (DR., Washingwa), promises to next week propose a bill requiring all doctors to explain to their patients how jobs work. "You can trust me," he explains, "because made a campaign promise during the last election that I would only accept campaign contributions from the media industry, but not the medical industry."

We look forward to updating readers on progress in the legislature.

Re:NEWSFLASH: Doctor makes money from sick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818487)

where are my mod points

It's not a policy change, just education (5, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818065)

This isn't a change in Google's policy, or practice. Google has long collected information about all of its users, and used that information for targeted advertising. Those of us who think about things realized long ago that Google has tremendous visibility into our on-line activities and is smart enough to be able to extract a lot of information about us. All that's happening here is that Google is making this fact more visible to users by condensing dozens of long privacy policy documents written in legalese into one short, understandable document. According to their blog entry, Google is also going to be doing a lot of advertising to make sure that everyone is aware of the policy document.

In the short term, I think Google is going to suffer from a lot of backlash from users who are frightened by the explanation of what Google collects about them, but I think this is a really positive move by Google and I hope it spurs other on-line service providers to follow suit. If you're going to collect and use personal information about people, telling them what you're collecting and how you're using it, and doing so in a way that is easy to understand is the right thing to do. Spending money on a media blitz to make sure that everyone knows how you're watching them is going above and beyond.

Google's policy document also contains a link to Google's privacy tools, which make it easy for users to see what Google is tracking about them and to opt out if they don't want to be tracked. It's potentially risky for Google to advertise that to large numbers of people, but again it's the right thing to do. Google's theory is that when given the ability to make an informed choice, people will see enough value in the search personalization and even targeted advertising that they'll be okay with it.

I guess the truly selfless thing to do would be to make all of Google's tracking opt-in, rather than opt-out, but that's probably too much to hope for -- and it may even be that the world is better off this way, because if Google is right about the value of mass personalization we'd probably never know because hardly anyone will opt in. This way, it's possible that large numbers of people will opt out, but not the majority. In any case, making it all opt in would almost certainly be very damaging to Google's business. The current approach is significantly less risky, but still enables people to limit their privacy exposure if they wish.

[Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer. I work on the security of systems that process payments to/from Google, though, not on anything related to personal information tracking or privacy (other than I do work really hard to make sure users' payment instruments are well-protected, even from me). These opinions are my own, and based on Google's public statements not on inside information.]

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (5, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818213)

Oh, I was also going to mention that only two points in the policy document surprised me, and both in a good way.

The first is that Google does not aggregate DoubleClick tracking data with all of the rest, unless you specifically opt-in to that tracking. Personally, I think Google's personalization is useful enough to me that I will probably track down that opt-in setting and turn it on, but I'm surprised that it's not on by default.

The second thing is that while I'd always believed that Google kept all of the data in-house, and didn't sell any of it, I hadn't ever seen a commitment in writing to that effect. After starting work for Google early last year I quickly realized that the company would have to change dramatically before they'd ever sell user information, because there's a strong sentiment -- arrogance probably isn't too strong a word -- that no one else would use it as effectively as Google, so selling it would be a waste. There's also a strong sentiment that no one else would be as responsible with it.

Anyway, it's nice to see Google commit to not selling user data. I'd like to see a similar commitment from Facebook.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818901)

Selling, sharing...it's just a matter of money and semantics.

Information sharing

Google only shares personal information with other companies or individuals outside of Google in the following limited circumstances:

We have your consent. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.

We provide such information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies or other trusted businesses or persons for the purpose of processing personal information on our behalf. We require that these parties agree to process such information based on our instructions and in compliance with this Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.

We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations thereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, or (d) protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Google

Make sure you read anything before clicking Yes.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (2)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819141)

Selling, sharing...it's just a matter of money and semantics.

It's far more than semantics... and money changes hands either way. The difference is that Google holds the subsidiaries, affiliates, etc., to Google's privacy policy. So Google continues to take responsibility for the way the data is used.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818267)

Spending money on a media blitz to make sure that everyone knows how you're watching them is going above and beyond.

Hmmm, now I'm suspicious... wait a minute...

[Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer.

Ah, now I get it.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (5, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818449)

Spending money on a media blitz to make sure that everyone knows how you're watching them is going above and beyond.

Hmmm, now I'm suspicious... wait a minute...

What makes you suspicious?

Actually, I know what makes you suspicious, and it's a common problem for Google. Everyone thinks that no corporation can ever do anything that appears good for the public and costly to the company unless there's some hidden profit motive. Since Google not infrequently does things that are good for the public and costly to the company with no hidden profit motive other than building long-term goodwill, people get intensely suspicious, certain that there must be more than meets the eye... and since the company is clearly trying to hide whatever that something is, it must be something really nefarious.

But the truth is simpler: Thought Google screws up from time to time, it generally does try to be a good citizen, and up front about its motives and methods.

[Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer.

Ah, now I get it.

That doesn't mean what you think it means. Like most engineers (and especially security engineers), I'm fairly suspicious of corporate skullduggery, and protective of on-line privacy. Like most Google engineers, I'm capable enough that I could easily work elsewhere if I felt like my talents were being put to evil uses. And as a recent hire, it's not like I have much of my net worth tied up in Google stock (I have a few shares that were given to me as a signing bonus), so I really have no motivation to shill for the company, even if I were dumb enough to think my posts on slashdot could affect the stock price.

So, again, what I post is the simple truth as I see it. There's no doubt that I have a positive bias towards Google, but that bias arises not from the fact that they deposit my bi-weekly paycheck, but because I see a lot of what Google does from the inside -- and it impresses me.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (0)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819219)

As a publicly traded company, Google has a fiduciary duty to maximize return on investment for the shareholders. If their actions -- no matter how altruistic they may appear on the surface -- do not/would not translate into shareholder profit, they won't be approved by the shot-callers, assuming the leadership is rational and proper. This is no different than any other public company. As a Google employee, I can see why you may want to believe Google is somehow different in this regard, but it's not.

If you truly want to work somewhere that does good for the public at their own expense, find a non-profit with a mission you support. And work unpaid overtime.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818471)

Take your stupid hunting rifle and shove it up your ass, fucking asshole.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818653)

I guess the truly selfless thing to do would be to make all of Google's tracking opt-in, rather than opt-out, but that's probably too much to hope for -- and it may even be that the world is better off this way, because if Google is right about the value of mass personalization we'd probably never know because hardly anyone will opt in.

and if they're not? I see not a single serious problem this solves. it just puts people into little bowls where they no longer can get a clear picture of what the rest of the world sees. apart from the whole privacy stuff.

In any case, making it all opt in would almost certainly be very damaging to Google's business.

no. missing out on additional profits you could have had by being a fucking whore is not the same as suffering damage. that's not even a nice try, and shame on you for even attempting to pull that one.

The current approach is significantly less risky,

risky to whom? see? holy fucking shit... you may be a good coder or something, but your thinking just sucks.

Re:It's not a policy change, just education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38819113)

But Google said you can't opt-out. Data collection will be mandatory by virtue of using a Google product/service. The ability to opt-out of certain things now will be removed.

Given this, could you clarify about privacy options? The new policy means there are none, you can't opt out (short of deleting your account), and after March 1st you'll have zero control over what data Google collects.

Eh, that's fine. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818095)

As long as they don't tell my boss what kinds of porn I'm looking up at work on my phone, I couldn't care less. ;P

No choice? (1)

jason777 (557591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818121)

People do have a choice. I already alerted my g+ friends I will be deleting my account, using bing, and keeping facebook (for now). Its just too invasive to have one company track me across everything.

Re:No choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38818563)

You make it sound like Facebook doesn't do that too. I suspect you haven't looked close enough.

"Consumers will have no choice but to accept" (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818123)

quoth "Consumers will have no choice but to accept the changes."

HOLY SHIT REALLY!?!?

No, not really. Stop with the bullshit hyperbole. Consumers have a choice whether or not to accept the changes.

Honestly I thought Google already did this (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818175)

Hard to get outraged when I was under the assumption that Google already did this. Why wouldn't I think that any time I was logged in with my google account (shared with search, gmail, android, youtube) they they weren't collecting data in the same bin?

Same with Facebook. How many websites have the facebook "like" buttons? When you're signed in to facebook, they are watching everything else you do. Again, I assume it all goes into one big bin of information about me.

Scary to type that out, but not a new development by any means, at least not in my perception.

Is this really a change? (1)

eagle1361 (2557464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818297)

I doubt they actually changed anything. I'm pretty sure they already collect and mess data from all their services. This announced change is just to allow them to "officially" use the messed data without getting sued.

Simple solution (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818347)

Don't use Google for everything.

Probably the most personal information you're giving away is via search and e-mail, and they're the simplest ones to get from different providers. e.g. keep using gmail, but switch to Bing for search, or keep using Google search and switch to someone else for web mail.

For video there's no real choice other than Google, so just make sure that you're not logged in if you're viewing something you don't want to be tracked and associated with your other Google services.

I'm a bit surprised at some of the comments along the lines of "no biggie - I assumed they were doing this already.... This really does make a difference. For example if you previously limited your Google searches.to stuff you wouldn't mind your girlfriend/children/co-workers or whoever seeing as suggested search completions, but weren't so careful on youtube, now you have to worry about that... You'll be getting google search completions popping up on your screen based on your youtube viewing habits! Not so harmless, eh?

Re:Simple solution (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818513)

So, use Google for all the above-board stuff, and use other services for the nefarious or disgraceful porn searching?

Bing might gain some traffic, but not the traffic they want to thump their own chest about...

Not so (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819161)

That's not so. If you have an Android phone, which Google includes in this new policy, you are giving away your location, who you call, what you search for via the phone, etc. etc. If you phone has the facebook app, then Google also has access to all of that data.

The courts just said that the police can't use a gps device without a court order. Google just change their privacy policy to allow them to track you via your phone wherever you go.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819179)

Google's new policy also coordinates your user id with your ip address, so even if you don't log in before going to YouTube, they can still tell it's you by cross referencing the IP address to when you are logged in.

That's not a privacy policy! (3, Insightful)

Webmoth (75878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38818615)

That's not a privacy policy! That's a voyeurism policy.

Can I cancel my cell phone contract over this? (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38819121)

Cell phone companies lock you into multi-year contracts. Since Google is including Android in all of this and tells people if they don't like it, don't use the service, does that mean I can cancel my cell phone contract without early termination fees? Otherwise, my carrier is forcing me to divulge information that was not part of my original agreement with the carrier!

google fan translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38819261)

Oh I thought we were already being fucked like this, this wont hurt at all since i've been pretending it was happening already. Maybe ill get another ice cream sandwich....

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