It’s designed to be simpler to understand and enable the integration of each of Google’s sites in the aim of building a bigger picture of who you are… and how to personalise adverts and search results for you.
What’s the problem?
Although representatives from Google have repeatedly explained that it is really not such a big deal as they are not collecting any extra information, just collating it, it is nonetheless quite concerning that one company could piece together every detail of our lives from our web history.
Take a moment to think about how much you use Google each day, and what for. Would you want the search-behemoth to be able to use this information to work out your sexual orientation, health concerns and potentially very personal interests?
The policy itself, despite being billed as a simplified version, is extremely complicated – even for privacy specialists to get their heads around, which makes the average user suspicious that Google has something to hide behind the spaghetti strings of complex jargon-filled sentences.
Earlier this week, the French regulatory agency CNIL warned Google CEO Larry Page that the new policy could violate the European Union’s tough data-protection rules. Further to this, 36 American lawyers declared the new policy as an “invasion of privacy” in an open-letter to the Google CEO.
Despite the opposition, potential law-breaking and direct request to delay launching the policy, Google has proceeded to make the changes.
Plus, there is no official ‘opt out’ option.
So, is Google selling my whole web persona to marketers?
No. Google will collate your information from across Google Maps, YouTube and the like, to build a profile of who you are so that they can give you the most relevant adverts and search results.
I think, if anything, it is a sign of the personalisation era to come, rather than a worrying example of the evolution of data-mining.
How do I get around this?
There may be no ‘opt out’ option, but there are ways to avoid Google keeping, and using your data:
- Sign out of your account – if you are not signed into your Google account when you use its services you’ll simply be logged as an anonymous user. Your activity will be logged but not linked to your account or profile.
- Delete your history within Google – Sign into your Google Account, go to https://www.google.com/history, click “remove all Web History” and click “ok” .
- Google Dashboard has a summary of all of the information that Google has associated with your account; you can delete the areas that you wish.
- Ads Preference Page – opt out of personalised advertising systems for Google’s own services and the ads it serves up on the other websites which use information Google has collected.