Google Privacy Policy Changes

As many people known our new overlords at Google changed their privacy policy recently and the new rules came into effect on 1st March 2012.  Put simply it means that Google will be centralising all the information it has on from various different sevices you may use, such as YouTube, Google+ (‘cos everyone’s using that), and even the Google search engine.

The YouTube channel SourceFed released the following video on the topic:

Google’s representatives state this is to allow the user to enjoy a more streamlined experience with the various Google services they use, and in a live Q&A with Google’s Peter Barron, he was honest enough to admit that this will also involve targeted advertising, explaining that the advertising pays for the services we use (hard to argue with that), and that if it’s targeted, the user sees less advertising that if if it were completely random (again, hard to argue).

Worth noting, however, is that the changes being made may violate data protection and privacy laws in the European Union.  Concerns on this have been taken to Google by Franc’s data watchdog, the CNIL, who claim

“Google’s new policy does not meet the requirements of the European Directive on Data Protection”

The full article, again from The Guardian, can be found by clicking here.

It’s worth nothing that Google will not be recording any kind of data that it/they were not previously, only that how it is stored, and possibly being used, is changing.  While opinion on this is divided in to those thinking it’s a good thing, a bad thing, invasion of privacy, big brother watching, even Skynet, and despite requests from various governments to delay the implementation of the changes, Google have gone ahead as planned and the policy is now in force.

Reading about this over the last few days brought a couple of things to mind, the first being how many different Google products/services I use, some on a daily basis:
Google Search – I had to set up a google account to keep using YouTube
YouTube – now tied to the above google account
Android – mobile phone operating system
Gmail – I had to set up a Gmail account to use the Android app store
Google+ – not sure why I bothered as no one seems to be using it

There are other Google service which I’ve not used such as Google books, wallet, or blogger, and the new policy make me think that if I want any degree of privacy on the web, then I’d best keep my blog here at word press, and do  my digital book reading on Kindle, although that app does run on an Android powered mobile phone.

Another thing that came to mind was how a user could previously see what information Google already held on them, and how the assumptions they’ve made may not be that accurate:

Image

Interesting reading, but lets analyse:

Arts & Entertainment – Movies – Movie Reference – Movie Reviews & Previews
Arts & Entertainment – Music & Audio – Music Reference – Song Lyrics & Tabs
Arts & Entertainment – Music & Audio – Rock Music
Not too bad, I’m in a rock band, and I’ve taught guitar, and have indeed used the Internet when learning music for myself or my students.
Arts & Entertainment – TV & Video – Online Video
I have a YouTube account where I have uploaded short videos from various performances, and I usually follow news from the USA  there too.
Games – Computer & Video Games – Simulation Games
Does Mario-Kart count? OK then.
People & Society – Social Issues & Advocacy – Environmental Issues
I’m not too sure where this cam from, I did watch a video or two about people who deny global warming, maybe that’s it.
Your demographics
We infer your age and gender based on the websites that you’ve visited. You can remove or edit these at any time.
Age: 18-24
Gender: Male
OK… the age is a bit off but I won’t complain, and yes. I am male.  Good job, Google
If you’d like to know what “information” Google think they have on you, click here.
If you want to keep a little more privacy on the web, you can always search with bing.
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One thought on “Google Privacy Policy Changes

  1. Thanks, Stephen. This led to some fascinating material. Personally I’ve adjusted years ago to having no secrecy. I’m elated to discover that Google perceives me as a male 18-24. Since I’ll be 61 in 2 months, touch wood, I take it my brain’s in jolly healthy condition.
    I’m glad to see you’re doing well. Since I last saw you (when that horny BBW barmaid stopped me video recording you in HD at Sammy Dow’s 2008) I’ve had an amazing roller-coaster adventure that led to me at last escaping the cocaine corruption that’s taken over Scotland’s Police, Government and Media.
    Now I’m safely back home in Avalon.
    I could say I should have stayed here all along but I’m sure what I’ve learned during my 10 years in the wilderness will ultimately prove rather valuable in the productions which will erupt globally out of Glastonbury this year onwards.
    I can’t complain about Google since all my artistic material I managed to rescue from Scotland was safely deposited on their hosting sites.
    Now that I’ve left you’re the finest living guitarist in Glasgow. Among the many excellent groups developing there in recent years, my favorite is the Rattleshakes. Every number they play is so danceable it’s hard to find a chance to nip out for a toke.
    My best advice to Glasgow musicians: refuse to play in a position where you can see people sitting with glass in their hands. You’ll make better music for a sea of arms and shaking arses. :-)

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