Google's Getting Sued for Consolidating Its Privacy Policies

Illustration for article titled Googles Getting Sued for Consolidating Its Privacy Policies

Seems like everyone is lining up to take shots at the search giant. Besides lawmakers investigating how it will use the unified data and regulators investigating whether the company prioritizes its own services in search results, a public interest group is now suing to prevent Google from implementing its privacy policy changes.

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Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed suit in D.C district court alleging that Google's upcoming privacy changes—which are scheduled to occur March 1st—will cause"irreparable injury to EPIC and the public." EPIC claims that the change violates a settlement agreement that Google and the FTC reached last march forbidding any privacy changes without consent from the user. EPIC is asking that the court issue a temporary restraining order as well as a preliminary injunction compelling the FTC to enforce the settlement agreement.

EPIC believes that by unifying user data across Google's multiple platforms—the search engine, Google+, Gmail, etc—that advertisers would reap significant benefits and that Google misrepresented those advantages in its recent notification campaign. Apparently, the aggregated data would allow for more accurate, targeted advertising. Google replied with the standard fare of, "Protecting people's privacy is something we think about all day across the company and we welcome discussions about our approach."

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Because God forbid I see a commercial for something I'm actually interested in purchasing. No, no show me more ads for feminine hygiene products, Wilford Brimley's home-delivery diabetes kits, and auto insurance policies from that lady with the Ronald McDonald lips. But can we at least stop using "advertisers" as a catch-all boogeyman every time online privacy is mentioned? [MSNBC]

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DISCUSSION

It doesn't matter whether you're browsing in private mode or whether you're even logged in to Google. If you've been using Google chrome, it's been routing browsing data to their servers.

And all the ads on the porn sites that are served up by Google's ad platform know exactly who you are based on your IP and tracking cookies and now they can associate it with your name, age etc. and your complete browsing history is known to advertisers that pay for it.

Whether Google tells you or not (like they told you about collecting your Wifi data), they know you even better than your mom.