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For its part, Google says the new policy will simplify privacy across Google’s many properties and make it possible for the company to build a range of new products and services for consumers, including on mobile. Arguably Google’s simplification of its many privacy policies was actually mandated by the FTC in the Buzz settlement.
Changes won’t affect users controls
The new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how any personal information is shared outside of Google. We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users. We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe.
Nonetheless, there are a range of articles about how to “keep Google from watching you,” like one this morning in the Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this week the Obama Administration introduced a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that will be voluntarily supported by Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft. A parallel initiative involves implementation of a “do not track” button in browsers, which Google has said it will install in Chrome.
Google still under intense scrutiny, pressure over privacy
Despite these moves, Google still faces intense scrutiny and pressure from lawmakers, advocacy groups and states’ Attorneys General (see e.g., 36 State Attorneys General Call For Privacy Meeting With Google).
Yesterday during her SMX West keynote interview Google’s SVP of Advertising Susan Wojcicki spoke at some length about privacy and how that plays out in the context of Google’s ad and consumer products. She explained that Google is ultimately seeking to balance consumer and advertiser interests and is guided by several principles: control, notification and transparency.
She added that nothing changes today as a practical matter except the policy itself. However that sets the stage for potential later changes in consumer products and advertiser options.
Wojcicki tries to explain Google’s goals with new policy
Wojcicki also addressed the controversy over Google circumventing iPhone Safari privacy settings. She acknowledged “mistakes” and that there had been several privacy related missteps in the recent past. These communication and PR blunders have contributed to fear and suspicion that what Google says and what it intends are two different things.
- Live Blogging the Google (Susan Wojcicki) SMX West Keynote
- White House Launches “Consumer Bill Of Rights” Effort, Companies Commit To “Do Not Track” Buttons
- 36 State Attorneys General Call For Privacy Meeting With Google
- Cookiegate Another Privacy Black Eye For Google
- Google Didn’t “Track” iPhones, But It Did Bypass Safari’s Privacy Settings
- Google’s SPYW, Kenya Imbroglios An “Ink Blot” Test For Google As Good Or Evil
- Google Intros New Privacy Controls For Mobile Consumers
- Google Now Forcing All New Users To Create Google+ Enabled Accounts
- Apple, Google In Privacy Hot Water Over “Locationgate”
- A Closer Look At The Google Buzz Privacy Settlement
- Europeans, EPIC Bring More Scrutiny To Google Privacy Changes
- No, You Don’t Need To Fear The Google Privacy Changes: A Reality Check