CDD is joining the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in asking the FTC to enforce the consent order, and a chorus of voices, including the European Commission, in asking Google to delay implementation of its privacy policies until a thorough investigation can be completed.
Is Google collecting information on you that will help their business?
Of course they are. Are they going to stop? Not any time soon.
When you boil Google’s business down to its essence, they make money by selling advertising. If they can get to know you through the information they collect, it enables them display ads that you will find relevant. The more relevant the ad, the more likely you are to click on it and put a few dollars in their bank account. This isn’t really much different from Bing and Facebook, or any other advertising platform that shows ads based on information collected from user input.
Whether the CDD and EPIC want to admit it, combining seventy policies into one certainly does make things easier for the end user. In addition this combination makes it possible for Google to provide users with a “privacy dashboard” where they can control how much information is collected on them. It’s a heck of a lot easier to understand and control than Facebook’s privacy controls which seem to change daily.
So what should you do?
The best thing you can do is to be an advocate for your privacy rights. If you are concerned about what data is being collected on you, and what is being done with it, spend time reading and understanding the privacy policies for the sites and businesses you interact with. Make educated decisions about which businesses offer enough of a payoff that you’re willing to let them collect data about you, and which businesses just aren’t worth it. And keep an eye out on the legislation regarding privacy so you can make sure your vote counts when our lawmakers are deciding what limitations are important.
And if you’re really worried about it, you can always stop using Google. Oh, and you might want to stop using Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, Pandora and all those cool phone apps. But for me, that is just too much of a trade off. For now, I’m willing to give a little data about me so that I can spend some quality time launching birds across my phone screen.