Google and its new privacy policy

Back on January 26th if you remember (yes it was the republic day for us in India), a courteous email from Google dropped in .It clearly explained that the company was about to distil 60 different privacy policies into one “easy to read” document. It was more than 2000 words long and put forth in a very difficult to read even for a seasoned privacy professional to understand.

Google however maintains that the policy remains unchanged, however many of the data protection agencies across the globe were not ready to accept it.

So what is the difference? From yesterday, Google altered its internal system in such a way that while using any of its products, it can now be used to tailor your search results while using another. So if I am searching for baking recipes, the next time I log onto YouTube, I could be face a video on “how to bake a cake”.

What is the motivation for Google to come up with this change? Mostly revenue driven, the higher the relevancy of its search results and advertisements are, the higher would be the revenue it could generate from its advertisers. Facebook and Twitter have become a huge competition for Google as they are driven by referrals through friends.

Should we be alarmed by this? Well, keeping in mind the relevancy of interests and search results tailored to our needs and preferences, then my view is we shouldn’t. Yes, it is creepy to find our interests appearing to follow us like a Vodafone pug around the web, but Google has a point in terms of serving us what is only relevant to us.

What is infuriating many of the legal privacy professional are the difficulty of opting out of its data collection mechanism. Browsers like Mozilla and Safari offer a “do not track” option, Google says it would take them a year to implement the same on its very own Chrome browser.

For many, it’s a daring remark from Google that if we don’t want to use its services, then so be it. Considering Google services are available at no cost for users, the cost that would be incurred is now our personal information. If you aren’t happy about it….there are other search engines.

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