On January 24, 2012, Google announced it was changing its privacy policies. Instead of a policy for each individual product (YouTube, Gmail, Google search, Picasa), all 60 Google services will now be covered by a blanket policy, one that is a lot shorter and easier to read.
And for the first time, information across all platforms will be combined to create a fuller portrait of users. Ostensibly, the move will help Google better tailor ads to people’s tastes. Google says they’ll never sell your personal information, or share it, without permission.
Simple enough …but the fact that users cannot “opt out,” and given Google’s checkered past regarding privacy issues, serious concerns are being expressed by privacy experts, federal agencies and congressional lawmakers.
Google is already under a consent order from the Federal Trade Commission for using deceptive tactics and violating consumer privacy, when it launched its Buzz social network in 2010.
And according to the Department of Justice, Google has also paid, “one of the largest settlements in U.S. history,” as a result of a criminal investigation by the DOJ and the United States Attorney in Rhode Island.
If you use Google, YouTube, Gmail or Picassa -- be sure to tune in to Justice Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET. Prepare to be outraged! Forewarned is forearmed.