What does Google do
with all that data?"> Then there are the sins that Google commits with all that data, according to Privacy International. PIs list, which the NGO says is "by no means" complete, as quoted from its site:
- Google account holders that regularly use even a few of Googles services must accept that the company retains a large quantity of information about that user, often for an unstated or indefinite length of time, without clear limitation on subsequent use or disclosure, and without an opportunity to delete or withdraw personal data even if the user wishes to terminate the service.
- Google maintains records of all search strings and the associated IP addresses and time stamps for at least 18 to 24 months (although Google recently announced that it would only retain data for 18 months) and does not provide users with an expungement option. While it is true that many U.S.- based companies have not yet established a time frame for retention, there is a prevailing view among privacy experts that 18 to 24 months is unacceptable and possibly unlawful in many parts of the world.
- Google has access to additional personal information, including hobbies, employment, address and phone number, contained within user profiles in Orkut. Google often maintains these records even after a user has deleted his profile or removed information from Orkut.
- Google collects all search results entered through Google Toolbar and identifies all Google Toolbar users with a unique cookie that allows Google to track the users Web movement. Google does not indicate how long the information collected through Google Toolbar is retained, nor does it offer users a data expungement option in connection with the service.
- Google fails to follow generally accepted privacy practices such as the OECD Privacy Guidelines and elements of European Union data protection law. As detailed in the EPIC complaint, Google also fails to adopt additional privacy provisions with respect to specific Google services.
- Google logs search queries in a manner that makes them personally identifiable but fails to provide users with the ability to edit or otherwise expunge records of their previous searches.
- Google fails to give users access to log information generated through their interaction with Google Maps, Google Video, Google Talk, Google Reader, Blogger and other services.
Click here to read more about Privacy Internationals scathing report.