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EU Authorities To Demand Reversal of Google Privacy Policy 177

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the legal-dept-hiring dept.
judgecorp writes "Google's privacy mechanism, which combines personal data from around 60 products, and gives users only one opportunity to opt out, was rolled out in March against requests from privacy regulators in Europe. Now they want the policy reversed, and user data from the different Google products, including Gmail, Search and YouTube, to be separated. The EU attack is lead by French regulator CNIL, which has historically taken a tough line on privacy matters."
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EU Authorities To Demand Reversal of Google Privacy Policy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:06AM (#41665843)

    The French may save us yet.

  • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:12AM (#41665869) Homepage

    "Yeah, so what if YouTube let you register with a user name before we bought it. We see you don't use a real name. WTF is up with that? Are you a criminal?

    [x] My name is ___________________________
    [ ] I'm a criminal."

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ras (84108) <russell-slashdot@nOSpAM.stuart.id.au> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:26AM (#41665949) Homepage

    All these web sites are owned by the same people. Are the EU saying a company can't mine the data the EU says it is allowed to collect? How on earth do you even police that?

    Besides, it's a non-issue, as it is under the users control anyway. If you don't want Google tying the data together use different use names on each site. It is not like it is rocket science.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:38AM (#41666007) Journal

    which is probably why my knee jerk reaction is that this is just another extortion racket and an organization hired to cause a stir.

    CNIL (Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés) translates to 'National commission on informatics and liberties'

    Unlike America, European regulators take their privacy seriously.
    They are mostly independant and don't have to bow down to political pressure.
    You seem to be confusing "not captured by corporate interests" with "just another extortion racket."

  • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:55AM (#41666069) Journal

    I've never felt like I have been wronged by Google

    Right now Google's not hurting, so they can be more selective in what thy do with that data. But when times get tough, and they probably will, Google will resort to all sorts of tricks to keep that cash cow mooing.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zemran (3101) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:16AM (#41666135) Homepage Journal

    "use different use names on each site."

    and do not forget to use different computers for each site as well because they track your use and know if you are using a different name on each site. So you need one computer for Google, one for Gmail, one for Youtube, etc.

    It is a big issue to a European that assumes a right of privacy but of course to an American who is only used to that right in name alone, this is not an issue. In Europe the data remains mine. I own it. They can use it only as I allow them to use my data.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:36AM (#41666203)

    Which is fair, but how will splitting the privacy policies back into various areas HELP privacy? Doesn't putting them all in one place for Google products make it easier? And even if split, do they not get how Google tracks everything anyway? Very strange way to help people I'd think.

    Well, before, Google had a different privacy policy for every product. This resulted in your YouTube browsing habits not being able to be shared with your GMail history, Google homepage not being able to search your e-mail or possibly throwing up your email search results when you search, etc.

    By unifying the privacy policy, Google made it easier to combine the data about you from many silos into one. Perhaps you were doing some Google searches about say, gay marriage. Now your YouTube ads for that next cat video can suggest gay marriage pastors. Or election ads about gay marriage.

    Or perhaps you're trying to keep your online activities separate. Perhaps you enjoy downloading the latest music and movies, but keep that separated somehow from your other activities. Perhaps using another browser. Or perhaps another computer. Problem is, you use Google on both, and eventually Google links both your nefarious pirate ways with your real life ways, so the MPAA and RIAA can now positively identify you through Google. (Ask Jammie Thomas).

    All the EU is doing is basically telling Google to put the data back in their individual silos and stop mising and churning it. Of course, law enforcement and IP lovers will be a lot less happy if they can't get at your user profile and prove that you are the person being accused through Google's profiling of your activities (the links are more tenuous when data is isolated. When they're combined, they're very powerful).

    Of course, this also allows Google to aid in finding people who do bad things - they can link the searches to the youtube videos to the G+ postings and all that. Perhaps even to their facebook account and get a name/location/etc.

    Oh yeah, trust me, it's not just advertisers/insurance people interested in your habits. And heck,one silo also means that false information can be rapidly corrected (yay!), alongside with notes on the false information in case you used it elsewhere, providing more linking data.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @01:37AM (#41666211)

    Kudos to the privacy watchdog.

    Don't use google. Don't use facebook. Don't buy apple. This will take you and us all a long way.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:26AM (#41666341) Journal

    No. The French may save French users of Google. Perhaps even for the rest of the EU. But DEFINITELY not for anywhere else.

    Google will definitely [if they are forced to keep this information separate for some locations] recode their products to keep it separate for people in those locations and combined everywhere else.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @03:30AM (#41666515)
    We have had law about privacy and IT and database for about as long as it started to become a phenomenon, I think back in the 80ies. For example you may not in certain circumstance do a join on database, or have races, skin color, religion, political affiliation, or whatnot mentioned in some database (I don't recall exactly when it is allowed, but you can take for granted that in a commercial database it is msotly not allowed). There is something similar on EU level.

    That you in the US (or any other country) don't care that you are the "product" is your problem. but if google want to have a commercial presence in EU it better respect our privacy laws. And No it is not YOUR responsibility to use different usernames, it is google responsibility to respect law and not join DB.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @05:32AM (#41666933)

    I absolutely agree. It should also be noted that civic duty goes beyond simple compliance; sometimes it is one's duty as a citizen to disobey the law. Not only are we obliged as individuals to oppose legal evils and the illegality of goods, but we are also so obliged as citizens.

    The grandparent poster's glib attitude towards legal conformism is a recipe for social stagnation and the worst excesses of what Aristotle accurately diagnosed as the democratic perversion of the common good: the majority may enslave the minority.

    The balance is not easy to find, nor defensible with absolute certainty. But the alternative is no alternative at all.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @07:29AM (#41667355) Homepage

    Why does having a common privacy policy necessitate sharing data between services? They can have a single policy that says they won't share data with other Google services.

  • by psiclops (1011105) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:18AM (#41667563)

    say you were paying a certain amount of money to live in an apartment. now imagine each year the landlord wants to raise the the rent. suddenly the initial ratio of cost to benefit has eroded, yet moving out is not a trivial decision.

    oh wait. that's kind of the standard rental situation.

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