Privacy and Google’s New ToS

Most of you by now have probably heard that Google’s implemented a new privacy policy that came into effect on March 1st. A lot of you, however, likely don’t know just what this entails. What does it mean for your searches? Your personal information? Your privacy? 

Nothing good.

The new policy, Google cheerfully claims, is designed to help deliver better, more enjoyable, more personalized content to its users. By bringing together every byte of information they’ve collected about you (and trust me, if you’ve used any of Google’s services in the past, they have a lot), they intend to improve user experience across the board.

This information is all personally identifiable and includes signup information, information about when you use Google’s services and the manner in which you use them, the device you sign on from, and even the physical location you’re searching from.

Understandably, people aren’t happy about this and Google’s already received several lawsuits challenging them on the matter. The most frightening thing about all of this, though?

They had most of that information already anyway. The only difference now is that they’re presumably using it to improve your experience of their products and to deliver personalized search results. If you’d rather Google didn’t keep track of what you’ve asked it to find, well…tough luck. As of the current juncture, there’s no way to opt out – well, aside from not logging in.

So….if you don’t want to be a part of their new ToS, no more Gmail or Google + for you.

Otherwise, if you use a Google service, they’re collecting information. Certainly, you can delete your browsing history, but the damage has already been done. They’ve already got your data. All you can do is hope that they’re not doing anything unscrupulous with it, like, say, selling it to advertisers (a la Facebook).

This whole fiasco underscores a very important issue that’s been the topic of intense discussion for quite some time now – Internet Privacy. Who owns your information? Who can use your data? What does signing up for a website like Facebook, or running a Google search, or creating a Gmail account entail for privacy?

I’ll leave you with a rather thought-provoking and somewhat distressing quote from LifeHacker that we’d all to well to keep in mind in the coming days, as social media gains more momentum and Google becomes larger than ever before: “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer. You’re the product being sold.

Image Credits:[NG Online News]

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