The letter, which was addressed to Google CEO Larry Page and obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), said that the signees of the letter had “strong concerns” over the “troubling” new policy, in part because it “forces these consumers to allow information across all of these products to be shared, without giving them the proper ability to opt out.”
“On a fundamental level, the policy appears to invade consumer privacy by automatically sharing personal information consumers input into one Google product with all Google products,” the letter said.
Computerworld’s Jaikumar Vijayan calls the letter “the latest, and perhaps most dramatic, expression of concern” about the upcoming consolidated Google privacy plan, which is currently scheduled to go into effect on March 1. Under the plan, user data from about 60 of the company’s services, including YouTube and Gmail, will be combined in order to create a single universal profile for each user of Google services.
“The company notes that it already collects — although it doesn´t amalgamate — this information and that none of it will be shared outside the company. It has also done an admirable job of notifying users about the change in policy,” the paper reported on Thursday.
“Google says that a primary goal of its approach is to simplify and enhance the Google experience, including by matching users with ads that should be of greater interest to them,” the Post editorial board continued. However, they added that “privacy advocates recoil at the thought of a giant Internet company weaving together information about a user´s every move and using the bundled information to benefit advertisers.”
As previously reported here on RedOrbit.com, the Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a new online bill of rights intended to protect consumers´ privacy and protect their personal data when surfing the Web.
The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is described as a set of guidelines which would allow consumers to have more control over the type of data collected by online companies. The measure reportedly received early support from a number of top Internet and tech companies, including Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, all of whom had promised to provide more information about how data would be gathered and used before an app is downloaded.
“American consumers can´t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” President Barack Obama said during the initiative’s announcement.
“As the internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy. That´s why an online privacy Bill of Rights is so important,” he added. “For businesses to succeed online, consumers must feel secure. By following this blueprint, companies, consumer advocates and policymakers can help protect consumers and ensure the internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth.”
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