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    Fifteen Advocates Urge Google to Withdraw Privacy Policy Changes

    In a letter (pdf) to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (and CCed to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz), fifteen advocates (from organizations including the American Library Association, EPIC and World Privacy Forum) objected to changes to the company’s privacy policies that were announced Sept. 3 and went into effect Oct. 3. The letter said Google’s changes would “reduce privacy safeguards for hundreds of millions of users of Google’s Internet-based services.”

    Under this new policy, twelve specific Google privacy policies will be replaced by a single policy that will enable greater data sharing within the corporation. […]

    With this new policy, Google is now treating user data as part of an integrated platform. Previously, users could selectively reveal information to Google for the use of a particular service, such as email, document management, or mapping. Now, users will no longer be able to do so, and information previously provided for only one service can be transferred between Google services without user consent. […]

    This unilateral change in Google’s Terms of Service could be considered a material change subject to investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Furthermore, the essence of an effective privacy policy is that personal information provided for a particular purpose is used for that purpose, not any purpose a company deems appropriate.

    We urge the withdrawal of these proposed changes to Google’s privacy policy and a greater commitment by your company to the privacy of users of Google’s services.

    One Response to “Fifteen Advocates Urge Google to Withdraw Privacy Policy Changes”

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