(Huffington Post) - Google’s plan to collapse 60 privacy policies into a single one and combine information it collects about its users has sparked outcry among privacy advocates and scrutiny from lawmakers around the world. Privacy experts have slammed the approach as “frustrating,” “a little frightening,” and even “illegal.”
“Users are not likely to see any difference actually because most of what Google is doing they have been always able to do,” said Jules Polonetsky, director of the think tank Future of Privacy Forum. “They were already tracking, personalizing, and tailoring profiles for users based on the different things that you did. There now will be some more data that will be available to do this.”
Merging information gleaned across multiple services isn’t anything new for Google. A Google spokesman noted, “Privacy policies for a long time now have allowed us to combine information that’s associated with a particular Google account.”
But the policy being introduced Thursday will help Google develop richer profiles of its users, cobbled together from data about what videos they’ve watched on YouTube, what their Gmail emails say, what searches they perform and which topics they follow on Google+. Rather than keeping information about your Gmail usage separate from specifics on what you write about on Blogger, Google will pull all of those details together. All Google users will also be required to submit to the new terms, a fact that has privacy advocates up in arms.
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