Will Google’s New Privacy Policy Protect Account Holders Information or Expose Them?


Google Policy Webpage

Written by: Chawonza Nash, February 9, 2011

On January 24 Google announced its new privacy policy and terms of service which ignited worldwide attention with regards to the potential for user private information to become exposed. Effective March 1 under its new policy Google will begin integrating account holders user information across its multiple services platforms into one streamlined platform. On the company blog Alma Whitten Google’s privacy director posted the company will “treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.” Single user? Intuitive Google experience? What does that mean exactly?

Basically, Google account holders using computers, iPads or cell phones devices will be uniquely identified upon logging into Google services or any of its third party service vendors. While this is not news, as Google has always collected users information, the difference now is that all user data collected will be compiled and integrated across one web service platform verses multiple to distinctly profile the user. This platform integration is as Google views it an opportunity to better tailor services and products for its users.


While some users may revel in Google’s intuitive response to know what they are attempting to search for or purchase, others may view this integrated technology as a violation of their privacy bordering on information voyeurism. The implications of Google combining users information across one products and services platform as well as being able to effectively protect users privacy has heightened concerns worldwide particularly among privacy advocate groups considering user may not be able to opt-out of all of Google services.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit Feb. 8, 2012 to hinder Google’s plan to merge user data from YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and other profile services, charging such a change would be in violation of an agreement the Federal Trade Commission negotiated last year with Google when it attempted to launch Google Buzz a social tool in 2010. Google countered back, “EPIC is wrong on the facts and the law.”

Friday, The Korea Herald (Seoul) reported Professor Im Jong-in of the Graduate School of Information Security, Korea University to say, “You can choose not to do Facebook but no one is free from Google products. If your Google account is hacked under the new policy, all the information on your Google activities is leaked immediately.”

Professor Ims’ comment targets what many users and privacy advocate groups are up in arms about as to the far reaching implication of Google’s new policy in the wake that it goes into effect in less than three weeks. Until then controversy surrounding its policy will continue to unfold, however Google is a reckoned information technology giant that won’t be easily slain.

In the meantime Google encourages everyone to read their new privacy policy and term of service because as their policy web page reads, “This stuff matters,” and if you’re not familiar where it is, well – Google it!

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