by Bryan Wilcutt"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal." -- Einstein The Staff at Curious Internet received an email from Google recently. Chances are you received the same one:
Dear Google user,
We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
Google goes on to exclaim what an exciting move this is, how happy you will be, birds will be singing, flowers will bloom. If you didn’t get their email that’s okay, they are merely sending out this page to everyone who is registered to them.
Let’s get to brass tax and analyze what is really going on here.
Here’s what Google is claiming and what it really means to you.
- What they collect:
A new single policy that does what you need. If a policy did what we need, it’d keep Google’s nose out of our business. The new policy does quite the opposite. In fact, it allows Google to track every damn thing you’ve ever done from the first baby steps you took to your last gasping breath! In their policy, they claim they collect the following information for you:
Info that you normally give them (name, address, bio/profile, changes, etc.)
Info that they collect from you using their service … which includes referrer (where you came from), agent (what type of system you are using), IP addresses you’ve used, MAC addresses you’ve used, telephone numbers you’ve used or called, text messages you’ve sent or received, time and date for every damn thing you do, etc.
Info about your location, including GPS (if available), the various BST (cell towers) you’ve connected with via your phone, how fast you move (such as driving), etc.
Info about things you’ve stored off-line in some “cloud” somewhere including analyzing that information for whatever reason they seem fit to give.
Info about cookies and other information stored from other websites that have nothing to do with Google. Good to see what the competition is doing, no?
- How they use what they collect:
They use the info to “protect, maintain and improve them, to develop new ones and to protect Google (from you, you monster!)
They use the info to share across all services (one name/password fits all Google services) and your online foto is now shared as well.
They use the info for the off chance you contact Google—probably to complain about their lousy policy. Since when has Google ever answered a consumer question? Hello? Can you say “Microsoft Customer Service”??
They use the info to customize your “user experience”. You ever wonder why the gun industry doesn’t use that term, “user experience?”
They use the collected info to share with other users. For example, if you’re birthdate shows you are 25 on one Google service, and 87 on another, then everyone will know about it. Cougar Power has been diminished!
They will kindly “ask” you if it’s okay to use your info for any other purpose. What other purpose is left?!
- What you can do to protect yourself:
You can no longer remove information from Google after Mach 1st, 2012. You can add to it, you can change it. If you change it, the delta changes are always stored. But, you cannot delete anything from Google as they’ve stated in part A above. They claim you can take information out of Google. Google graciously set up a Red Herring website to make it appear as though, darn it, they’re on YOUR side and want to liberate you from all that nasty data they are collecting on you! Google’s Red Herring website is called Data Liberation. Remember, using this service also will give them the right to collect information on you. D’Oh! So, before March, use it to delete everything!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
First, if you’re telling yourself “This isn’t a big deal, it doesn’t really concern me”, you’re wrong. This is the biggest deal on the Internet since Microsoft separated IE from Windows. It’s a big deal. If you are not concerned now, you will be in the future. Parents should be especially concerned as info on their youngsters and teenagers will not only be sticking around forever, but it will most likely affect them in their college and job years, too.
Google has violated the trust of their users more than once over the years, especially in the
. You have a limited window of time to remove everything you have on Google before the the policy takes place on March 1st, 2012. UK
- Delete your Google+ profile.
- Throw your Google phone in the trash, replace it with an iPhone.
- Delete your Google gmail account.
- Delete your Adsense account.
- Delete your Blogger account.
- Delete your Webmaster/Analytic account if you have one.
- Unregister and delete any other services even remotely connected with Google since they will still have “rights” to that information.
- If you advertise with Google, delete your Ad account.
- Delete all your photos on Picasa Web Album because after March 1st, they belong to Google and can do as they please with them.
|Google smack-down will eventually come...|