New Google Privacy Policy Raises Concerns over User Protection

Washington, DC – Tomorrow, Google will introduce its new privacy policy, a move that consolidates over 60 different privacy policies across several products. According to Human Rights First, Google’s new privacy policy will impact users all over the world – from American consumers who use Google on a daily basis to human rights defenders in the Middle East who use the internet to organize and advocate for freedom and democracy. Simply through the usage of one of Google’s various services, users’ personal information and internet practices will be collected, retained and shared in ways they are likely unaware of, all without obtaining their affirmative consent. “Because Google often does not fully educate users as to how their information will be collected and used, Google’s new privacy policy may place some of the most vulnerable internet users around the world at risk. Google needs to explain – in terms the average user can understand – how its new policy will operate, what it means in practice, and how it differs from prior policies,” said Human Rights First’s Meg Roggensack. “Google says it is working to create a simple, intuitive user experience. But at what price? At a loss of fundamental privacy? Google needs to do more to make the cost to users clear up front, before any information is collected or any new policy is implemented.” Google’s new privacy policy comes on the heels of last week’s release of the White House Consumer Data Privacy framework, a welcome first step toward requiring companies to protect user privacy online. The White House report recognizes that companies must have procedures in place to protect consumer privacy. It follows that consumers should be informed, in simple terms, when their online information will be shared, including in response to government demands. “As Google moves forward with its new privacy policy, it needs to increase transparency so that users around the world know exactly what they are signing up for when they use a Google service,” concluded Roggensack. “Only then will users be able to make informed choices to protect their personal data.”


Published on February 29, 2012


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