Privacy International rates Google bottom

June 11, 2007

On privacy naturally! Privacy International has released a report on internet services which ranks them based on how good privacy for their users is. The report is fairly scathing about Google:

“While a number of companies share some of these negative elements, none comes close to achieving status as an endemic threat to privacy.

“Google’s increasing ability to deep-drill into the minutiae of a user’s life and lifestyle choices must in our view be coupled with well defined and mature user controls and an equally mature privacy outlook.

“We have witnessed an attitude to privacy within Google that at its most blatant is hostile, and at its most benign is ambivalent.”

Google responded through the press: “We are disappointed with Privacy International’s report, which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services,” said Nicole Wong, Google’s deputy general counsel.

“It’s a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them.”

In my opinion, as long as Google are only collecting data to help them come up with and improve existing services then that’s fine by me. As soon as the data gets sold or used for marketing to me then I may object but I can’t see that happening. As long as my data is used wisely (in a manner which is beneficial to me), kept secure, not released to any government organisation (without good reason) then I’m fine with it!

After all attention data (which is pretty much what they are collecting) is key to providing engaging and useful internet services so we could never expect them not to collect data such as search history (in my opinion of course).

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