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Google Privacy Policies Receive Scathing Review

By Patrick | June 11, 2007

Privacy International is an International (duh) Privacy watchdog group that just released a report of privacy rankings for many of the Internet’s major players (ie. Google, Microsoft, MySpace, Facebook, etc). The Washington Post has an article talking about the report here.

One excerpt from the report states:

“We are aware that the decision to place Google at the bottom of the ranking is likely to be controversial, but throughout our research we have found numerous deficiencies and hostilities in Google’s approach to privacy that go well beyond those of other organizations. While a number of companies share some of these negative elements, none comes close to achieving status as an endemic threat to privacy.”

Some of you may remember last year the big fiasco Google raised when it challenged the DOJ’s subpoena request to review millions of user’s search requests. A feather in their cap for privacy advocates right? This along with their agreement to “sanitize” search data after 18-24 months has created some confusion as to just how Google could have received the lowest ranking of all companies analyzed. Privacy International came to it’s conclusions based off of 6 months of research conducted with 30 professors from the US and the UK.

Some of the takeaways from both the Washington Post article and Privacy International’s actual report are as follows:

I believe Google is keeping privacy in mind when it comes to third parties. I don’t believe they are sharing data with anyone else or advancing the rise in spam traffic. However, I also believe they are gathering and analyzing data in ways that will benefit them greatly and anyone else that had this same type of market research. They obviously won’t share this type of research with competitors but will use this information any way they can to serve their own interests. At least, that’s just my opinion.

Do I think they’re in bed with the government like Facebook has been suggested to be? No. Do I think they have very valuable information that the government and/or corporate entities would like to get their hands on? Absolutely.

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Topics: Anonymity, Corporate | 126 Comments »

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