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EU Google Privacy

European Watchdogs Challenge Google Over Its Privacy Policy 35

Posted by timothy
from the only-the-government-gets-to-spy-so-much dept.
Trajan Przybylski writes "Information rights authorities in the UK, Germany, and Italy threatened to take legal action against Google if the company does not change its unified privacy policy. In its latest statement the ICO, Britain's information watchdog said Google's privacy policy implemented in March 2012 may not comply with the UK Data Protection Act. Many privacy activists and commentators have been critical of the data unification practice with some claiming the data sharing across web services carries serious risk of compromising people's identities as many users are not even aware their data is freely passed between Google-owned services."
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European Watchdogs Challenge Google Over Its Privacy Policy

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  • Are they the ones that go through the three day "full take", every packet stored [spiegel.de] data store?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      No, they're the ones who are supposed to defend the privacy and security of personal information, you're thinking of GCHQ.

      Governments and really large corporations usually have departments whose job is to prevent the stuff done by another department.

    • While GCHQ's spying isn't good at all they are part of the government and not a corporation which means they generally get to do more just as they can start a war and Google cannot. I know fanboys think the world of their favourite brands but they need to be punished when they do wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    NSA/GCHQ could act against our interests, but can be tempered with regulation, and overseen by government.

    Google provide a conduit for information to NSA/GCHQ whether you like it or not, and exploit our information by design.

  • So much for do no evil. From a user perspective Google servers are indistinguishable from NSA servers. Google webmail is really NSA webmail. Google's relatively recent privacy policy changes and mandatory account unification were likely dictated by the NSA.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your tinfoil hat, it's slipping.

      I'll leave aside first two unsubstantiated claims, and just poke your logic out of interest:

      What use is data sharing clause, if everything you send to any Google's services can already be read by NSA? Do you really think it went like "Hey, we've got all this data from you, but we don't have the permission to correlate it across the services (even though user account is still the same), why don't you ask user's permission to let us do that?"

      Srsly, are you a government shill hi

    • Google gets into the news for working to deny government access to user data. Frequently, even. Google may have some evil elements, but Google doesn't belong to government.

      The real problem is, that the NSA has taps into the backbones, and they have active telecom cooperation.

      You're trying to imply that when government snaps it's fingers, Google either rolls over and plays dead, or sits up and begs. That accusation is much more accurate when applied to the telecoms.

      Also - I point your attention to AC's re

  • Not surprising ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705)

    I bought a new Android tablet the other week. In clicking around I opened the YouTube application -- next thing I knew the damned thing had created an account for me on YouTube without asking me.

    I don't want a YouTube account, and I didn't tell you to create one for me. Give me the damned option to run the app without a damned account.

    Google has one interest, and that's harvesting as much info about you as possible. I fear my tablet will end up having a lot of the stuff disabled to keep Google at bay wit

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      In clicking around I opened the YouTube application -- next thing I knew the damned thing had created an account for me on YouTube without asking me.

      This sounds somewhat improbable. How did it generate a username and password for you, for example?

      The only explanation I can think of is that it picked up your Google account and you are confused. Since YouTube is owned by Google the same account can be used on both, so nothing new was actually created.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        This sounds somewhat improbable. How did it generate a username and password for you, for example?

        You are correct -- the App took my google credentials, and logged me into YouTube without asking and sent me an email welcoming me to YouTube.

        I subsequently deleted the account in the YouTub app, re-launched it, and it did it again.

        I subsequently disabled the YouTube app. An application which doesn't ask my permission before it signs me into something isn't something I want.

        If I was to hit YouTube without bein

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          I checked and you can log out of your account just in the YouTube app. It logs you in by default because that's what most people want, but I have a couple of different accounts and I can use any of them or none at all.

          Just go back to the YouTube home screen in the app, press menu and select "sign out".

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Just go back to the YouTube home screen in the app, press menu and select "sign out".
            Yeah, did that. And the next time you launch YouTube on the Nexus 7, it re-attaches the account without asking you.

            Which is why I've disabled the damned app altogether.

    • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @01:01PM (#44228021) Homepage Journal

      AFAIK, there is no such thing as a YouTube account any more; it's been merged with the Google+ account system. I think what actually happened was one of two things: either you didn't have a Google+ account and one was created (more precisely, your Google account was "upgraded" to a Google+ account), or you did have one and just didn't realize that it was being used for YouTube.

      In either case, if you don't want to have a Google+ account, you can delete it, either effectively downgrading it to just a Google account or you can delete your Google account entirely. Be aware, though, that a lot of Google's other services are tied to your Google account, so only delete it if you don't use Google's other services: don't buy apps on the Play store, don't use Calendar or Contacts, don't want Google to back up your device settings, don't want search history automatically propagated between your web browser and mobile device, etc., etc., etc. Personally, I think having the account adds a lot of value to both my mobile experience and my desktop experience, and I'm also of the strong opinion that I'd rather have a single Google account across all of Google's services (and to use it for single sign-on to many other web and mobile properties) rather than manage a bunch of separate accounts, but I'm biased. You can make your own evaluation and choose appropriately; most of Google's services and products can be used without an account, except where that really doesn't make sense.

      (Disclaimer: I work for Google -- I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same even if I didn't work for Google, though. Note that I don't work on any of the aforementioned stuff, and am really just speaking as a knowledgeable user, albeit one who has a fairly high degree of trust in Google's competence and intention to behave responsibly with my data and use it to help me, because a big part of my job is securing the data to prevent leakage and internal abuse).

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        either you didn't have a Google+ account and one was created (more precisely, your Google account was "upgraded" to a Google+ account), or you did have one and just didn't realize that it was being used for YouTube.

        Yes, it used the existing Google account as a login.

        I've been studiously avoiding Google+ because a) it's yet another pointless social media turd, and b) because Google+ has a real name policy I don't agree with. Why the hell should I be required to use my full name on the internet to satisfy so

        • by swillden (191260)

          b) because Google+ has a real name policy I don't agree with.

          Google backed off on that policy, FYI. There are lots of pseudonyms on Google+.

          And, no, I don't want Google to propagate my search results, browser history, and marketing crap everywhere I go.

          I really like that I can do a search on my desktop, then later when I'm out, say, driving to the place I searched for, I can repeat the search on my phone with a single character, or even less, because my phone knows what I searched for on the desktop. YMMV.

          And, in the end, over the last few years Google has become hostile to privacy

          Do you have any examples of where Google has disclosed or otherwise behaved irresponsibly with user data? I think Google is very careful to maintain user privacy. But -- as I

    • by lxs (131946)

      Google data analysis isn't all that clever. I ordered a pair of sunglasses last week and the rest of the day I received ads for even more sunglasses. A smart algorithm would have tried to sell me suncream or a cool hat that would look good with the glasses. But no. Google decides that I need ten pairs of cheap sunglasses to go with the expensive pair I already bought.

      • A smart algorithm would have tried to sell me suncream or a cool hat that would look good with the glasses.

        Or an album by ZZ Top.

  • Ah, the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by intermodal (534361) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:11AM (#44225787) Homepage Journal

    People log in with one account, yet they somehow may not be aware that their information may be sharing between different parts of one account?

    Personally, I'm surprised people don't just consider Google to be one service with many facets at this point.

    • Oh, if I had mod points, you'd get them. This IS what Google wants. They've openly said it. I'm not saying it's smart but I am saying Google was honest about that. The UK can just use the NSA search engine instead.
  • This is retarded (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry for the term, but it is. Google wants all their services to be one thing. Whether or not that's smart as far as business goes, it should be legal. What part of this is the UK not getting? They know you're the same person on maps that you are on gmail and they want your accounts to reflect that. Even if Google reversed the policy, do you really think they wouldn't know who you are? "Oh, abc logged in from the same ip address as xyz for five years straight and chats with the same people." What... what d

  • Oh yeah, because Britain is so pro-privacy. It's fake grandstanding to get the people convince they're pro-privacy when they practically have a camera up every resident's ass.

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