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Google’s new privacy policy continues to divide opinion

12 · MAR ·2012

Amid the furore surrounding Google’s new privacy polices – it appears one thing has remained constant; Google will be implementing these changes despite warnings from the EU that the new polices may be considered illegal in an EU Court of Law. It was introduced last week, despite calls from a group of European regulators to hold off allowing further investigation. Essentially the new policy, which came into play a week ago, means that data from one Google service, such as YouTube, Blogger, Gmail or the search engine itself, can be shared across all Google products.  The ethos behind this from Google’s perspective is that this is a simplification of its rules, with 60 policies being condensed into one, but one of which will also enhance user experience by creating an almost bespoke, user-friendly Google experience. So what does this mean to the end user?  All sites that are part of the Google umbrella will gather information from an individual’s historical web searches, read articles, watched videos even on key words within individuals Gmail accounts and use it to target individuals with marketing campaigns from companies. It is well known that Google makes nearly all of its money through advertising (roughly 95%) through targeted Marketing Campaigns and Google optimisation – these new laws now make this even more compelling to Companies to invest in these direct marketing techniques, but will also mean that an end user’s experience of Google will almost be bespoke and personalised. Should Google have the right to use this information and tailor the internet experience according to this? According to Britain’s privacy watchdog they shouldn’t be – they have now also disputed the policy change and have suggested that the policy is not sufficient, and will not fit into current data protection legislation. David Smith, the deputy Information Commissioner, criticised Google at a conference in Westminster on Thursday: “Google's privacy policy is too vague - the requirement under the UK Data Protection Act is for a company to tell people what it actually intends to do with their data, not just what it might do at some unspecified point in future. Being vague does not help in giving users effective control about how their information is shared. It's their information at the end of the day.” What  will be very interesting to see is the impact that this will have over the coming months, and  if Google’s key competitors will follow suit, to ‘cash in’ or opt  out, in an attempt to eat into Google’s market share... lets’ wait and see.

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Posted by Sanita Karra