Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Feb 2012 14:53 UTC, submitted by bowkota
Google "A group of European regulators has written to Google calling on it to halt the introduction of its new privacy policy, saying it needs to investigate whether the proposals sufficiently protect users' personal data." I'd rather regulators are on top of this now than when it's too late and we're all plugged into the Google Hivemind Overlord.
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Why?
by bile on Sat 4th Feb 2012 15:37 UTC
bile
Member since:
2005-07-08

And why can't users who get that rather obvious "We've changed things!" screen not just read the new privacy policy and decide for themselves? Don't like the policy... take your data and go elsewhere.

Reply Score: 1

v RE: Why?
by th3rmite on Sat 4th Feb 2012 16:14 UTC in reply to "Why?"
RE[2]: Why?
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 4th Feb 2012 16:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Because we have to have the government regulate EVERYTHING.


This isn't about regulation. This is about ensuring no EU citizens are harmed. While I personally do not believe there's anything wrong with this change, I'd rather my government keeps close tabs on large corporations.

God forbid this place turns into America.

Reply Score: 10

RE[3]: Why?
by RawMustard on Sun 5th Feb 2012 07:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why?"
RawMustard Member since:
2005-10-10

Are EU citizens that stupid they can't use another provider?

I'm sick to death of people thinking the Government should take care of their every decision.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Why?
by zima on Sat 11th Feb 2012 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Govs are ultimately the expressions of citizen decisions, ideally & hopefully quite optimal; they are social constructs acting on the behalf of people they represent. Being (also) proactive about potential issues (many at the same time, larger or smaller; taking care of the former doesn't preclude doing it likewise with the latter) means a gov is doing its job.

It's stupid expecting from people to track even 1% of the things which need to be taken care of, if they want to maintain their comfy modern life.

Edited 2012-02-12 00:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why?
by cfgr on Sat 4th Feb 2012 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
cfgr Member since:
2009-07-18

Since when is it a bad thing that a government protects the interests of its citizens? Isn't that the very core purpose of a government: to represent us? For the people, by the people. It may not always be perfect, but it's definitely a whole lot better than the "for the corps, by the corps" attitude we see elsewhere.

Reply Score: 5

v RE[3]: Why?
by Brendan on Sun 5th Feb 2012 04:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why?"
RE[4]: Why?
by cfgr on Sun 5th Feb 2012 06:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why?"
cfgr Member since:
2009-07-18

Consider "innocent until proven guilty" vs. "guilty until proven innocent" - which is more ethical?

Now consider "not flawed until proven flawed" vs. "flawed until proven not flawed" - which is more ethical?


Think of it as this: a government is a company where the shareholders are its citizens and the product is the market. If you want a part of the market, you make a contract with the government: you follow the rules. Just like Google reserves the right to stop doing business with you at any time, so does the government reserve this right to stop doing business with Google.

Innocent until proven guilty is not applicable here. Google is not a person, and definitely not a citizen. In fact, I'd consider it unethical and most unprofessional to risk your shareholders profit/privacy by blindly accepting a deal simply because you consider it ethical to give the other company the benefit of the doubt. I think your shareholders would disagree with that definition of "ethical".

The government must always give priority to the interests of its citizens. It has no obligation towards Google and any other company whatsoever. If that interferes with Google's planning, then Google should have planned better. If Google doesn't like the rules, then Google can go take its business elsewhere and a more ethical company will take over the market share. Capitalism at work.

On the other hand, if the rules are unfair and harm the citizens' interests (or are thought of as such), then management will be replaced after the next election. Democracy at work.

Edited 2012-02-05 06:38 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Why?
by gan17 on Sat 4th Feb 2012 16:15 UTC in reply to "Why?"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Dunno about the EU situation, but part of the reason Google's been getting a lot of heat from US legislators is because their "opt-out" options and pages seem very cryptic (to the average user) and sketchy. I think most people want a single "do not mine my data in any way, shape or form" option for them to tick.

At least, that's the impression I'm getting. Maybe it's a similar opinion in the EU.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why?
by CapEnt on Sat 4th Feb 2012 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

Google at least offer a opt-out and bother themselves to explain the changes that they made on their privacy policy.

This is already a way more then a very large amount of big online services does for its users. Indeed, sometimes they do not even notify you about the changes, use a auto opt-in policy, and automatically changes back all you privacy options that you may have made to a default one when a new feature comes out quietly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Why?
by Redeeman on Sat 4th Feb 2012 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why?"
Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

while that is true, just because others are bigger assholes it does not justify wrong doings, even if they are not as bad.

im not saying the new privacy policy is bad or worse, just saying its no excuse that others are worse

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Why?
by CapEnt on Sat 4th Feb 2012 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why?"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

That's true!

What is annoying me is the double standard: if you change quietly your privacy policy and never offer to your users a real fine grained opt-out page, no single government agency really cares and the issue gets confined to some few tech sites who has editor that likes privacy related issues.

But if you change your privacy policy publicly, cares to explain it, and offer your users a page to control their personal data to a rather high degree (if sided with others), you get punished with a investigation from a governmental agency and must wait for their good will.

So, EU regulators must investigate not only Google, but also Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon... and every single service with more than 5 million users. And actively punish with fines the ones that change their privacy policy without notifying their users.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Why?
by jared_wilkes on Sat 4th Feb 2012 21:13 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Attributing the concern to the transparency of the changes seems like a false premise to me.

Could the oversight be because Google has a de facto monopoly on web search? Could it be that the concern arises from Google claiming they wouldn't do such things for the last ten years? Could it be because, although admittedly complex, the previous policy did provide greater granularity and chances to opt-out?

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Why?
by tomcat on Sat 4th Feb 2012 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why?"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

That's true!

What is annoying me is the double standard: if you change quietly your privacy policy and never offer to your users a real fine grained opt-out page, no single government agency really cares and the issue gets confined to some few tech sites who has editor that likes privacy related issues.

But if you change your privacy policy publicly, cares to explain it, and offer your users a page to control their personal data to a rather high degree (if sided with others), you get punished with a investigation from a governmental agency and must wait for their good will.

So, EU regulators must investigate not only Google, but also Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon... and every single service with more than 5 million users. And actively punish with fines the ones that change their privacy policy without notifying their users.


Here's the problem. I may want to use GMail and Google Search. But I don't want my searches correlated with my GMail ID. It's illegal for Google to tie the two together.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Why?
by CapEnt on Sun 5th Feb 2012 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Why?"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

I must admit that i too would be more comfortable with the good old random username instead of using a email to create a account.

But that's not illegal. And a random username do not really conceal your identity more than a fake email address, it just makes more convenient to create a new account.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Why?
by tomcat on Sun 5th Feb 2012 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Why?"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I must admit that i too would be more comfortable with the good old random username instead of using a email to create a account.

But that's not illegal. And a random username do not really conceal your identity more than a fake email address, it just makes more convenient to create a new account.


It's illegal under EU anti-competition laws.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Why?
by ndrw on Sun 5th Feb 2012 03:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Why?"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

Use a Multifox add-on. Or if you don't like it use another browser only for GMail.

This functionality should really be integrated in Firefox as a part of a larger IDs/passwords/cookies manager. There's no excuse for Mozilla not having that - scavenging user data is the most pressing issue on the web now, perhaps even more than censorship (because of its scale).

Another must-have function is PGP-like form encryption. There used to be an extension for that but 1) it isn't actively developed anymore, 2) this solution needs a critical mass - it makes perfect sense if e.g. most Firefox users make their public keys easily available, otherwise it's a toy for a couple of geeks.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Why?
by jared_wilkes on Sat 4th Feb 2012 20:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

The only opt-out being offered is to log out, which I would not characterize as an opt-out.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Why?
by andydread on Sat 4th Feb 2012 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

Dunno about the EU situation, but part of the reason Google's been getting a lot of heat from US legislators is because their "opt-out" options and pages seem very cryptic (to the average user) and sketchy. I think most people want a single "do not mine my data in any way, shape or form" option for them to tick.

At least, that's the impression I'm getting. Maybe it's a similar opinion in the EU.


Lets not forget that Microsoft is the main reason why Google has been catching flack from authorities lately. Microsoft and a group of its partners have been lobbying very hard for Google to be investigated.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Why?
by tomcat on Sat 4th Feb 2012 23:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why?"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

"Dunno about the EU situation, but part of the reason Google's been getting a lot of heat from US legislators is because their "opt-out" options and pages seem very cryptic (to the average user) and sketchy. I think most people want a single "do not mine my data in any way, shape or form" option for them to tick.

At least, that's the impression I'm getting. Maybe it's a similar opinion in the EU.


Lets not forget that Microsoft is the main reason why Google has been catching flack from authorities lately. Microsoft and a group of its partners have been lobbying very hard for Google to be investigated.
"

I'm not sure how that's relevant. Google was lobbying the federal government to investigate Microsoft back in 2000. Now, MS is returning the favor. And apparently, Google learned nothing from the experience -- or thinks they're smarter than regulators.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Why?
by Redeeman on Sat 4th Feb 2012 17:18 UTC in reply to "Why?"
Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

because we live in a society of laws, and there are limits as to what we can allow companies(and people) to do. otherwise by your arguments terms of service could allow the websites to bind you into contracts where your firstborn must be given to adoption to them

Reply Score: 5

RE: Why?
by tomcat on Sat 4th Feb 2012 23:37 UTC in reply to "Why?"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

And why can't users who get that rather obvious "We've changed things!" screen not just read the new privacy policy and decide for themselves? Don't like the policy... take your data and go elsewhere.


Because Google has a monopoly on search. It can't leverage that monopoly into other markets (e.g. mail, social, etc) and use those other markets to "enhance" search with irrelevant results that hinder privacy.

At the end of the day, Google is doing this because its efforts in the social network space have been lackluster, and it wants to force you to use their service. by tying the various services together.

Edited 2012-02-04 23:43 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Why?
by CapEnt on Sun 5th Feb 2012 01:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

At the end of the day, Google is doing this because its efforts in the social network space have been lackluster, and it wants to force you to use their service. by tying the various services together.


Several different privacy policies do not stop any company to integrate their services, not even a bit.

By the end of day, they still can change 200 different contracts quietly, shove it in their users, and opt-in everyone in a new service.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Why?
by tomcat on Sun 5th Feb 2012 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why?"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

"At the end of the day, Google is doing this because its efforts in the social network space have been lackluster, and it wants to force you to use their service. by tying the various services together.


Several different privacy policies do not stop any company to integrate their services, not even a bit.

By the end of day, they still can change 200 different contracts quietly, shove it in their users, and opt-in everyone in a new service.
"

Google will be forced by the EU and other government antitrust regulators to back out this policy. Watch.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why?
by Beta on Wed 8th Feb 2012 11:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Because Google has a monopoly on search. It can't leverage that monopoly into other markets (e.g. mail, social, etc) and use those other markets to "enhance" search with irrelevant results that hinder privacy.

Google’s pushing of Chrome on their home page is leveraging their monopoly and imo, frankly an antitrust issue.

But them merging accounts you willfully signed up to together to make it easier for them and you, is not…

Reply Score: 2