EPIC really, REALLY wishes the FTC would review Google's pending privacy policy update

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
EPIC really, REALLY wishes the FTC would review Google's pending privacy policy update
Here we go again. As we’ve reported previously (and as you surely know from web ads) Google is retooling its privacy policies, merging more than five dozen different privacy policy statements into a single one that is simpler to read. They’ve been aggressive about trying to get people to actually read what’s in it, and the long and short of it is they aren’t changing your settings or changing what sort of data is shared beyond Google, the only significant change is that your data within Google products will now be shared with other Google products you use – so trying to find friends on YouTube will be easier because they can leverage your contacts data to help you auto-complete a search form.

We concluded that the real “problem” here is that many internet users simply don’t want to be faced with how much data companies like Facebook, Google, and even Apple collect about you when you use their products, so Google’s posting of a simpler to read united privacy policy seems to have made people uncomfortable by getting dragged out of their “ignorance is bliss” attitude about web services.

Some of those people work for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), who tried to sue in Federal Court to force the FTC to review Google’s upcoming privacy changes. They were told in no certain terms to buzz off by the court, ruling that the court system has no authority to compel the executive branch-based FTC to decide whom it will investigate.

Epic isn’t taking no for an answer, however, and they’ve filed an “emergency appeal,” hoping to compel first the court and then the FTC to step in and press the “pause button” before March 1st, when Google’s privacy policy changes will go into effect. In particular EPIC claims that Google dodged some of the detailed questions the FTC asked, thus not satisfactorily explaining (to EPIC’s standards, at least) how the upcoming policy changes will impact user privacy.

We think Google’s statement is admirably clear compared to the overly legalistic wording of most other privacy policies, but certainly we want Google to come clean to the FTC about whatever is asked. In the end though, we suspect that it’s ultimately up to the FTC to decide whether Google has complied or not, and it seems likely the appeals court will hold a similar view.

We’ve added Google’s privacy statement in the source links, so you can make up your own minds.

source: EPIC via Tech Crunch; Google's Privacy Policy Preview


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