Googles Product Privacy Changes Are Unwelcome

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2012-02-23 Print this article Print

"It rings hollow to call their ability to exit the Google products ecosystem a "choice" in an Internet economy where the clear majority of all Internet users use €“ and frequently rely on €“ at least one Google product on a regular basis," the AGs wrote.

The AGs also lamented the policy change impact on business users, specifically those 4 million-plus companies that use Google Apps for cloud collaboration apps, noting that the proposed information-sharing may lead them to shuttle their entire business over to different  platforms.

This could have a deleterious economic impact on federal, state, and local government agencies that have migrated to Google Apps and may need to spend taxpayers' money to switch to platforms such as Microsoft Office.

The AGs, which want a sit-down with Page, gave Google until Feb. 29 to reply. Consumer privacy wonks at the Consumer Watchdog today praised the AGs' letter and call to meet with Page.

"We're pleased the state attorneys general have weighed in on this important issue," said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Policy director. "Google has spun the new polices as 'improving user experience.' In fact it's about amassing even greater digital dossiers about you.  You're not Google's customer, you're Google's product."

The issue has been a contentious one since Google announced its planned changes Jan. 24. U.S. Senators who met with Google Deputy General Counsel Mike Yang and Public Policy Director Pablo Chavez Feb. 2 to discuss the planned policy changes did not like what they heard.

Europe's Article 29 Working Party said it would like Google to "pause" policy changes so the group can comprehend the possible consequences of the policy changes for citizens in the 29 European countries.

The policy changes aren't the only privacy issue Google has encountered this year. The company caught flak for circumventing Apple's Safari protections to place cookies on users' iOS devices and Mac computers.



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