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Google Issues Letter to Address Questions by Congress Over New Privacy Policy

Google managed to raise some eyebrows last week when they announced that as of March 1, they would migrate to a single privacy policy for the majority of their services. While some will remain on their own, some 60 or so Google products will all have one policy. The goal in theory, is to make your experience with Google more seamless and intuitive. Since this is Google though, not everyone was ready to buy into that argument and questions were raised by some pretty important people. That would be Congress. 

A letter has already been written by Google to address these questions. The entire letter is available and touches on the types of data that is collected, whether or not it will be sold, the plans for sharing between Google products, and more. If you have privacy concerns, this is something that you will want to read.

For those that don’t have much time to dive into such a lengthy document, we have some of the key points for you below:

  • We’re still keeping your private information private — we’re not changing the visibility of any information you have stored with Google.
  • We’re still allowing you to do searches, watch videos on YouTube, get driving directions on Google Maps, and perform other tasks without signing into a Google Account.
  • We’re still offering you choice and control through privacy tools like Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager that help you understand and manage your data.
  • We still won’t sell your personal information to advertisers.
  • We’re still offering data liberation if you’d prefer to close your Google Account and take your data elsewhere.

You can read their full letter here.


Via:  Google

  • Guest

    How DARE google stop having 60 separate/different privacy policies!
    What a terrible thing to do to us!


    • Anonymous

      You mean a human cent-ipad?

      • RadicalPie

        No a human cent-ice-cream-sandwich

  • Jake Gall

    What does bug me is no one touches up on the section that states it will also collect data reguarding your phone calls, and durations as well as SMS and MMS data. ETF does that have to do with improving thier services?

    • Jake Gall


    • Guest

      How *DARE* google know that I made a 49 seconds google phone call yesterday.

      Oh wait… they already knew it.

    • It help them market, which is technically what google does. Just like the bots read your emails to serve relevant ads in Gmail from key words it picks out.

      Data from calls, SMS and mms help with building a profile of habits on you.

  • The problem with all of you acting like this isn’t a big deal is the fact that you would likely be freaking the hell out if this was Apple.  Be consistent.   Most of us don’t read anyone’s privacy policies anyway.

    • Akio

      If I used Apple products, I would. Considering Apple is shoehorning it’s users into the mobile platform, thus starting the restriction of the computer side, Apple users have more to fear from than the consolidating of privacy issues.

    • Acting like its not a big deal because it isn’t. Just for the record every other computer device I use besides my phone is from Apple. I for sure read all privacy policies and what is good about google and there policies is they are very transparent about it. You can actually go back and read every privacy policy they have ever had and compare and contrast from the last or even from 5 years ago.

      This is only a big deal because major media needs sensationalist headlines to drive traffic to their falling apart business models.
      Please do not put us all in the out-of-control hatter of Apple box, thank you.

  • thefullritz

    Annoying, they email me constantly telling me about their policy change.

  • People need to get the hell over the google policy. The sensationalist headlines in major media need to stop.

    If you want to be freaked out and up in arms read over your ISP privacy policy. They track EVERYTHING and EVERY site you visit and are required by law to keep that info for I believe a few years in case Johnny law needs it.

    • Guest

      Where do they store a list of millions of sites visited by millions of people for years?

      What would happen if they simply said “Sorry, we just don’t have the resources/time/money/spaces/staff/desire to store all that useless mountain of info”?  

      They would be prosecuted????  What would be the charge?   What would be the penalty?

      • All stored on a server somewhere. I don’t really think they have a choice to say no. You want to be an ISP this is what you do.

        It would not surprise me if anonymous info is sold for profit. Think of how valuable information and habits like that would be worth. Been a while since I have read through the policy but would be interesting to see if and what information they sell.

  •  Love the childish crayon font

  • FortitudineVincimus

    I so don’t care.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly… how many of us actually read privacy policies and not just rapid scroll to the bottom to accept it?  I have been guilty of the latter many times… I just use discretion in what I make available.

    • Peter Kelly

      I saw an article online the day after the announcement came.  Essentially, the uproar proves that no one reads privacy policies.  Every single (or at least nearly all) of the to-be-combined policies said exactly the same thing, that Google has the right trade data between services.  Now, they put it all into one policy that says the same thing, in easier to understand terms, it’s the downfall of the interwebs,  Yeesh. 

  • EC8CH

    still better than Facebooks policies

    • Could say that for a lot of companies. Well except Motorola probably. 😛

      • Anonymous

        Is Motorola’s privacy policy bad?

    • Anonymous

      They have policies? I figured it was we own everything you do and can share it.

      • EC8CH

        i think it’s technically stated:

        All your data are belong to US

    • Still better than Congress’ policies

      • Noyfb

        Congress’ policies are written and paid for by lobbyist. Congressmen don’t even write bills they are just submitted by lobbyist to them with a large sum of money to push them through.

  • QtDL

    I don’t get what the big deal is. Isn’t having one privacy policy for all of their services supposed to make things easier? If congress should be questioning anyone on privacy, it should be Facebook.

    • I totally agree.  I don’t understand what the big deal is.  Their sharing the info I already gave them, between their products . . . which I signed up for.  They were likely already doing this to an extent and just recently made it official.  Who cares

    • Anonymous

      You’re right.  You see that the ACLU is now on FB’s ass regarding sharing data with Politico?

      • QtDL

        I haven’t heard this but will have to look it up now. Why the heck are they sharing data w/ Politico?!? I logged into my FB account the other day and requested my account be deleted. Apparently it takes 2 weeks (can’t login anywhere, can’t ‘like’, etc) or whatever. I’ll give them 3 weeks then try logging in, if my info is still there I’m suing their azzes.

    • Anonymous

      This whole thing is the reason why I stopped reading Gizmodo.  All they have done since the new policy was released was berate Google for being evil.  Which is total BS.  The policy is just simplified and applied everywhere instead of having tons of different policies with different rules.  I feel much better when I can go to one place and see exactly what Google’s policy is, no matter the service.

      • Akio

        Giz and the gawker sites in general have been pretty flaky and begging for any attention since the iPhone scandal.  They write contradicting posts usually within the same week, if not the same month. They’ve lowered “tech blogs” to a whole different standard.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah.  I still keep Lifehacker around for some of the featured downloads, but the crap still seems to trickle through.  I’m now on TechCrunch and the Verge instead.  BoingBoing is one of my favorites that I’ve read since I first used GReader.

          • Akio

            I’ve been pretty much the same with Lifehacker.  TC went through some screwy weeks with the editorial fiasco, I haven’t been back there in a while sadly,  Haven’t visited BoingBoing, I will now though.

          • Anonymous

            It’s not all tech stuff.  They’ve got everything thrown together. I’m not sure what fiasco TC went through, but I haven’t seen many problems.

          • Akio

            They had some editorial staff changes a while back. I don’t remember the exact time frame, but most of the articles during that time were low quality. The internal issues took away from it all at the time.

  • Anonymous


    • Skennedy412

      No one gives a flying f***

  • Anonymous

    You just have to shake your head at all the outrage over what people imagined the privacy policy to mean.

    • EC8CH

      the Red River Zoo in Fargo keeps having Red Panda babies, a couple years in a row now I think… thought you’d like to know

      • darthkarki

        Is that place even open? I used to drive by it all the time and it always looked closed and run down…

        • EC8CH

          Yeah, I know it’s a pretty small zoo, but we always get a yearly membership to take the kids during the summer.  They recently got a grey wolf exhibit with about 6 or 8 wolves so that’s pretty cool.  I think they close over the winter.

          • darthkarki

            Ah. Might have to take the family to check it out this summer. Not much else to do in town. 😛

          • EC8CH

            don’t expect too much… the 
            carousel is pretty nice if you have kids young enough to get excited over such things.

          • Anonymous

            I like turtles.

          • EC8CH

            yes zombie boy… yes you do