back to article German data commish makes a Hamburger out of Google

In another likely-to-be-fruitless attempt to rein in the globalisation of privacy invasion, Hamburg is telling Google to seek punters' permission for a range of services that build user profiles. The news comes just a day after Brussels told Android OEMs they could either open the skirts on their contracts with Google, or face …

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Hamburg Uber Alles

Interesting case, I would like to see the Hamburgers win this but without the backing of the rest of Europe, I am not sure that it will go very far.

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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

Google's German office is based in Hamburg.

It's not the EU that's the brake on this but the German government: Merkel got the update on the EU rules postponed last year which would have given more force to Data Protection Officers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

They have an office in Munich too…

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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

@Charlie

Ok I see what you are saying , Euractiv Link

So hopefully in 2015 something "might" change.

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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

Hopefully. After the German elections we had the European ones and now we're working on a new Commission… The TTIP stuff will no doubt also include all kinds of exemptions…

Same thing happened to the environmental legislation that Germany had previously agreed to.

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Re: Hamburg Uber Alles

They have an office in Munich too…

True but the ad sales are based in Hamburg.

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Click Through DIalogue

And all the permission is there...

I assume they don't require a full interactive session explaining why leaking the data is bad...

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Burg vs. Borg

Get the popcorn...

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Anonymous Coward

Idiots

Of course users have the choice. Don't use Googles services.

Of course these idiots want all the free stuff AND they want to keep their privacy, and that's not the deal. Nobody offers this deal, why would they?

Google's privacy policy is very clear. They don't sell your personal data to anyone, but they do use information on what they know about you to serve you targetted adverts. The fact they do it better than anyone else is their USP, and their money is made from advertisers using Google because of this.

That's all there is to is. It's not rocket science to understand. You simply look at what you get from Google, and decide if it's worth the trade, if not, just unplug from the internet (as the harsh reality is, the deal is just worse elsewhere, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook are all doing the same, but offering you less for it).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiots

"Google's privacy policy is very clear"

I think that's the point that people don't seem to grasp.

Almost every company is at it, with or without your permission or knowledge. (the hash of your credit/debit cards works as a good UID, for example).

This is how Google make their money, and how they are able to fund services which are pretty damn good for £0, by advertising products that their computers think you'll actually be interested in.

A no brainer.

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Re: Idiots

True - I like the services that Google offers me for $0 - admittedly I do make some efforts to obfuscate my identity - VPN, random IP addresses etc., - and my cats are members of both the NRA and the AARP.

Quite honestly, I think the services that Amazon offer are far more likely to leak private data about punters and much harder to hide from - Jerry's busy backing Google but missing the real dangers.

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Big Brother

Re: Idiots

Don't use Googles services.

And don't use online shops, newspapers, whatevers that use Google services. Because even if you don't use Google directly, there's a gazillion websites that use stuff provided by Google. And that is also collecting user data, but in a way much less directly visible to the average burger, in- and outside Ham-.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiots

there's a gazillion websites that use stuff provided by Google

And they are the ones using Google's services, not you. Vote with your wallet.

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Facepalm

Re: Idiots

"And they are the ones using Google's services, not you. Vote with your wallet."

Find me a site that provides what I need, is reputable, and doesn't feature any kind of Google tracking or other links, and I'll be only too happy to.

Until Google's monopoly of internet search is broken, companies will be face with the choice of dancing to Google's tune or being practically undiscoverable on the web. Hell, the entire SEO industry is built around gaming Google's search engine - you never hear of anyone worrying that their Duck Duck Go ranking has dropped, do you?

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Coat

Re: Idiots

"information on what they know about you to serve you targetted adverts."

@AC

Totally unrelated to the article...

My partner and I went searching on the Internet for a particular girl's bike. We found it was available at bike shop close by, and bought it. Then, for the next three weeks, all the bike advertisements that were targeted at us were for the bike shop we bought the bike from.

It's not the first time I've seen this - being targeted with ads after the purchase has been made. Sure, I understand Google doesn't know that we already bought what we wanted, but it would seem those ads were wasted on us, and how much did that three week campaign cost the bike shop?

Apologies. Bad rant.

I'll just...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiots

Google doesn't know for sure, but you'd have thought they and the other admongers would have the odd bit of research that suggested X percent of people bought within such and such a timeframe. Yet unless you clear cookies, the ads follow you for weeks. Amazon are probably the worst - even more odd in their closed ecosystem. I'm still occasionally haunted by ads for things I actually bought from them a couple of years ago, most of which would be a real stretch to imagine as regular repeat sales. Which makes the absurd company valuations even more odd if all ads are this badly 'targetted'.

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Re: Idiots

"there's a gazillion websites that use stuff provided by Google. And that is also collecting user data"

But, remove Google and they'll still be doing it, because sites *explicitely* want to do this. Customer profiling predates the Internet, never mind Google.

Hell, if I had a website, even I'd have a neural network doing log pattern analysis. Why would anyone want to be willfully ignorant of what goes on in their own shop?

That'd make a fun privacy policy: "I'm using a neural network to identify patterns in my environment. So are you, and for the same reasons."

I idly wonder what Google would have found that wouldn't be found otherwise.

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Re: Idiots

The problem is that, after getting users to sign up to individual services, Google then migrated them all into a single silo, with a new, combined privacy policy and people didn't have a choice.

While they might have been happy for one service to have information on the sites they visited and another service to see where they were etc., the user was suddenly faced with a single service that could see everything and they had no options, other than to throw away their Android phone, which they would still have to pay for, for the next 2 years and find another email service and find another video service and...

If the information was still siloed as it was before the amalgamation, there would be no problem.

If the user could decide which information could be amalgamated, there would be no problem.

What Google did is against German and EU privacy laws. As a Data Protection Officer for my company, I don't see why Google should get a free pass, when every other company has to follow the rules or face a big fine.

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Re: Idiots

Amazon isn't any better, they target me with adverts for products I've just bought!

But I must say, I've yet to see a single relevant advert come from Google. Maybe I'm not feeding them enough information, and Google Analytics resolves to 127.0.0.1...

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Big Brother

Give them a chance?

See, search engines used to charge no?

Per search, per year, per ... until the google happened along with free with strings attached not free as in free beer search engine.

It is fair for Hamburg to do what it is doing and might even turn up a search engine whacked in with ISP fees that is free from ulterior motives?

Can't take too much to say to all European ISPs something like: European directive, personal data is personal data, right of the individual and so forth create a search engine amongst yourselves that adds no more than £10 or €10 to annual cost. It will be free from profiling and be wholly based on EU territory?

NO? Shock? Horror?

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Re: Give them a chance?

Well if I were somehow able to actually trust the search engine, then sure €10/year wouldn't be unfair.

Buuut... Current climate = You can't trust it if it's government/EU run, and you can't trust it if it's privately owned.

Sooo.. NGO-NPO search engine?

Then of course there's the problem that you can already get search engines that are more or less free from profiling.

What you want is a search engine that does profiling, but doesn't use that for any other purpose than serving your searching needs. Maybe even does a split-search, where the left side is based on your profile, and the right side is profile-free.

Of course then there's data security to worry about.

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Re: Give them a chance?

I can't help but think Europe is lagging the rest of the world in this.

Heck, India is making more progress that Europe (collectively) is.

European os search engine data banks ... ?

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Catch EU22

Reuters: "Processing data that reveals financial wealth, sexual orientation and relationship status, among other aspects of private life, is unlawful in Germany unless users give their explicit consent, it added"

.. but.. since the EU high court has explicitely redefined Google Search as a Data Controller that is definitely Processing data.... why are Google allowed to search the Internet without the explicit consent of ... everyone?

Forget the Right to be Forgotten. You forgot you have the Right Not to be Remebered! :-)

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