Author Topic: Google & Privacy ...  (Read 1068 times)

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Offline close2u

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Google & Privacy ...
« on: March 03, 2012, 11:27:04 am »
So I have been clicking on the 'dismiss' button every time those annoying pop ups jumped out at me lately.

But it seems I should have done some reading.

What is the story here? In short and in layman's terms would be good.

And how do I best protect myself and my privacy?

Offline Majik

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Re: Google & Privacy ...
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 12:02:35 pm »
The real story is that Microsoft and Facebook have been trying to use Google's policy restructuring to divert attention from their own dreadful privacy policies and EULAs.

Personally, having read the small print, I would trust Google's privacy policy over Facebook or Microsoft any day of the week.

What Google have done is amalgamated individual privacy policies from individual products into a single policy across their product range. This has simplified a lot and means you only need to look in one place.

http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/

I suggest you read it and make up your own mind. Unlike some other companies, it's not overly long and not too difficult to read.

Ultimately (despite the lies being told by the likes of Microsoft) they really haven't changed much. What it has done is highlight that they can (and will) amalgamate data collected on you internally through your use of all their products. So your privacy data through your usage of (say) Picasa will be collected along with your data on your usage of Google+, Google Search, etc. and also to drive targeted ads on sites where they appear.

That they do this should be no surprise for anyone with an IQ above 50. Most of their products have been using the same login ID for some time.

This, fundamentally, is also not a change. The individual privacy policies for those products allowed Google to use your information in this way. They have simply simplified and amalgamated them into a single policy. Google also show you what information on you they hold, and allow you to remove it at any time. They also (unlike Facebook) don't provide your personal data to 3rd party "partners".

The benefit to you, as a user, is you get a much more seamless experience between products, including the Google services you use on your mobile devices (such as Android).

A lot of the fuss has been because, in the past you could selectively avoid sharing data with Google on certain products by not using that product whilst still using others. The complaint is that you can no longer "opt-out" in this way. It's a silly argument because, even if you didn't use Google+ in the past, if you used Picasa you were still giving Google personal data, and they could still use it for targeted ads, etc. Nothing really has changed. If you really want to opt out then simply don't use any Google products. There are other options around (but if you read the Bing privacy policy, you'll find it's not any better that Google's).

Basically it's a bit of a smear campaign by Microsoft, who are trying to bolster use of their own Bing and MSN services as well as the lacklustre sales of Windows Phone, and Facebook, who are concerned because Google+ has quietly become the fastest growing social network in history.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline sophiehiker

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Re: Google & Privacy ...
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 01:39:19 pm »
@close,  I think pop-ups and privacy are a two different things.  @Majik explained the Google privacy policy really well. Thanks @Majik.

Personally, (I'm in the States) I use Ixquick as a search engine instead of Google.  It doesn't record my IP address and report my searches to the goverment (Is my paranoia showing?)

Best rule is don't put any personal information out there.  Once it's out there, it's out there forever.  (I wish I could take a couple forum posts back.)

As for blocking pop-ups , you'll want to enable the pop-up blocker in your browser.  In Internet Explorer it's Tools - Internet Options.  Click on the Privacy tab and click on Turn on Pop-up Blocker.
...where the deer and the antelope play.  Well, they're not really playing.  They're fleeing in terror.

Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Google & Privacy ...
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 01:51:38 pm »
So far, it all seems ok...
Or does it ? http://packetstormsecurity.org/news/view/20675/European-Data-Protection-Chief-Warns-Google-Over-Privacy.html
In the mean while, you can find out who's tracking you online now thanks to mozilla's new add-on, called 'collusion' : https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/collusion/
It displays a nice graph of which sites are following you and which ones connect together and/or share your data with each other.
It becomes a rather ugly tangled web after a few hours of browsing...
Although it isn't 100% accurate yet, it does give you a rather good overview of the general group of sites that track you.

Offline Majik

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Re: Google & Privacy ...
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2012, 02:44:38 pm »
So far, it all seems ok...
Or does it ? http://packetstormsecurity.org/news/view/20675/European-Data-Protection-Chief-Warns-Google-Over-Privacy.html

A lot of noise and posturing from the French authorities there, but they don't actually explain why a company using data on it's customers for internal use is illegal. It sounds like a bit of bluster to me.

 IANAL but this what Google are doing is standard practice in businesses all over the world and it would be impossible to legislate against it. The fact that, historically, Google haven't tended to share this information between departments and they now are is the issue here. The trouble is legally speaking, the historical way a company ran its operations is pretty irrelevant regarding the legality or otherwise of this.

Beware: there are a lot of self-proclaimed "privacy experts" out there who are looking for a bandwagon to promote themselves on. The article mentions one such individual who is taking Google to the small-claims court to refund the cost of his Android handset over what he sees as illegal changes to his contract. Good luck with that! Not only hasn't he bothered contacting Google directly over this claim, but he has previously approached the UK Information Commissioner's Office, who handle privacy issues in the UK. They effectively told him to go away and stop being daft.

The way I see it, it's another Internet wannabe pundit trying to make a name for himself.

The best thing to do is ignore the self-promoting "experts" and the press. They are stirring up trouble because it's commercially beneficial to them. Their views are biased and self-serving.

Read the privacy policies for yourself and decide. Google's is straightforward, easy to read and understand, and a damn sight less intrusive than most other services out these. If you really don't like it, don't use their products, but be aware there are unlikely to be many alternatives which don't have a worse privacy policy.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline bradt

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Re: Google & Privacy ...
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 10:34:17 pm »
I think Majik has it here. I've been following this pretty closely for a while, and all they are doing is taking the data they are already storing on you and putting it in one spot across their products. It's really nothing to worry about.

With the changes, say you go to youtube and do a search for maintaining pickups. Now, since it knows you have searched google a lot for guitar pickups, and you have been searching about guitar maintenance, youtube will give you the guitar related searches ahead of autombile related terms*. If you had been searching a lot for car wax and looking up auto blogs, it would do the reverse.

Also, instead of seeing random ads around sites, you will get more targeted ads to you. Amazon already uses your search history to do the same thing with their ads, so it's nothing new.

Here's the thing that a lot of the scare stories don't tell you as well. If you don't want this data collected and associated with your account, don't sign in while using youtube or google search, or any of their other services. None of the data will be attached to your profile, and will be saved instead as anonymous use statistics.

Google is big name with a lot of enemies, and online privacy is a huge issue. Politicians love to make it look like they are fighting for the consumer in things like this, and will jump on anything that even remotely gives that appearance. Whether or not it actually does what they claim is irrelevant to them.

Media types love to tell fantastic (as in pure fantasy), stories and will jump on it as well. I even saw one news report warning that they will be storing your banking information and social security number. Don't believe everything you see and hear.


*-In The US, the term "pickup" often refers to a truck with a bed on it. Don't know if the terms are the same in Europe or other countries.

 

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