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back to article US lawmakers question Google over privacy policy

Google is insisting that its new privacy policy will still give its users control, after criticism in a letter from US members of Congress. The lawmakers wrote to Google to express concern that users wouldn't be able to opt-out of the new data sharing system when using Chocolate Factory products. "We believe that consumers …

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jai
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So still no easy opt-out option other than just not using the services

Why isn't there a "do not track" checkbox on my profile settings page? So instead of having to be aware of if I'm accidentally logged in or not, I can feel safe that google aren't tracking my every move and making it available to whomever is willing to pay them for it?

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Anonymous Coward

Could it be because

Google provide their services free-of-charge. To fund that they sell adverts, adverts which when targetted will (in theory) be more likely to make you click them.

I know it's difficult to avoid using Google products, especially as it's become entrenched in habit, but that pretty much is your option. Or of course nuking Google's cookies when you close the browser so you will at least be logged out at the end of the session.

Tracking is shit, it really is, but I'm far more concerned about them tracking everyone with ads than tracking when I'm logged in. The latter does make you more identifiable, but you do have the power to log yourself out, hassle that it might be.

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Anonymous Coward

Google don't provide services free of charge at all

We are not their customers - organisations who buy data about us are their customers - we are the product they sell. Don't flatter yourself to think you are in any way a 'customer'.

The rest I agree with. :-)

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Big Brother

"Why isn't there a "do not track" checkbox on my profile settings page?"

Because it should be an opt-in "please do track me, but only if I say so" checkbox.

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Google DO provide services free of charge

And they don't sell data either. They analyse the data they collect and provide targeted adverts. They could sell the data to whatever site you were on so they could do their own analysis and select a relevant advert, but that would use more bandwidth and not be such a valuable service. I'd rather pay google a fee for their services and not have my data tracked, but I'm not too bothered about the current state of affairs.

The response to the change to the privacy policy has been totally out of proportion. Facebook's messaging system, calendar, news feed and Pages all know what you've been doing on Facebook's games and the comment sections of various websites, and know a big chunk of your browsing history too. But when Google implement something similar they get compared with Nazis!

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http://www.ghostery.com/ is a good start for avoiding Google tracking. Won't save you if you don't logout, but will block many targeted ad companies throughout the web.

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I CAN'T BELIEVE....

that US lawmakers have got a problem with Google privacy when you consider that they snoop on everyone the world over.

If anything we need protection from to institutes of the good old US of A!

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"So here’s the real story, you still have choice and control."

Yes, you still have a choice and control, the choice is increasingly becoming "Do I trust Google not to abuse the crap out of what I do online?" and the control mechanism is to avoid using Google. You don't *have* to use Google search, nor GMail, nor YouTube etc. but it seems clear that if you do you will be monitored.

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Flame

If you have nothing to hide why should you be worried?

If you have something to hide you should not be using the products (unless aliased though the TOR network).

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You should be worried because you have absolutely no idea how that information will be used in the future. Something that may seem unimportant and innocuous now (religious/political opinions; facebook party pics; whatever) could have real-world implications to you later on.

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Nothing to hide?

Seriously... Everyone has something to hide. Show me someone that has nothing to hide and I'll show you a liar!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/mushroom_32.pngr!

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FAIL

@Leon

You need to read this:

"Debunking a myth: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/the-data-trust-blog/2009/02/debunking-a-myth-if-you-have-n.html

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Flame

@Leon, I would like to visit your house and look through all your closets and drawers. I also want to download all the files on your computer. I only want to examine them for my, uh, "survey".

What, you object? If you have nothing to hide why should you be worried?

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Anonymous Coward

"Is there any ability for users to opt-out, other than not purchasing and using an Android phone?"

I thought that half the whole "Android isn't closed" argument is that you can easily root the device and do as you please. So couldn't you reject the terms, root the phone, remove all the apps covered by the rejected agreement, and go about your merry business?

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You can skip the google signup, install a different Market app (eg Amazon's) and not have to root the phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Yet another step...

On the highway to hell.

Remember when google's mantra was "do no evil"?

With each change they step even more firmly into the camp of the most untrustworthy groups on the planet.

At this point they are on par with tax collectors and ambulance chasing lawyers. There's only a few more levels to sink down to: dictators, pedophiles,... I figure google will be amongst them within another year.

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Why does the latest change make them less trustworthy?

Do you even know what the change is?

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Why I'm not worried about Google.

http://xkcd.com/792/

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Unhappy

@redxine

"http://xkcd.com/792/"

Highly amusing.

Sadly I think Google will find doing evil quite easy.

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Bah!

And we take another step closer to the marching hammers scenario.

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Googles' privacy policy...

Everything you do on the internet is public and we have the right to capture and retain it forever.

Everything we do is private and has some intellectual property value, therefore you don't have a right to it ever.

There, its that's simple.

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GURGLE

Don't track me bro'

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Treat each Google service...

I've always treated each Google service as a separate service each with it's own account. In fact, that's exactly what most of them were originally.. Log out after using each service. Log in to each service with a unique username when you do need to be logged in.

Yes, you will most likely be coming from the same IP address, but that's also the case on shared PC's or NATted home networks, which is probably the majority of households. They don't k now if it's "you" coming from that address with a different username.

This can't stop them tracking you doing this, but it can make separate and disparate trails which, in their eyes are probably different users.

As someone who has been on the 'net for many years it's natural to have different log-ins for different services, but the facebook generation will see a consolidated log-in as a benefit and be happy to give away some privacy for micro-second of extra convenience.

We are already seeing stories of people failing to get jobs because the prospective employer has trawled the 'net to find out about he prospective employee. This should be a huge big red flag to all to keep web activity, log-ins and usernames discreet and separate on different services. In some case, keep two separate accounts on the same service, one you don't mind people knowing about, one for your drunken ranting tirades ;-)

FWIW, this username is unique to this forum. You won't be able to match comments here with anything else I may or may not have done on the 'net. The site admins might, but your average prospective employer won't.

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Big Brother

"YouTrack" (TM)

Your life on their servers 24/7/365 available to anyone who can pay (or perhaps anyone who can pay enough *not* to be tracked).

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