The FTC is reviewing Google over privacy concerns... again

The FTC is reviewing Google over privacy concerns... again
Google's business and customer privacy controversies often go hand in hand. The numerous services that Google provides are free, but it gets money for delivering ads to its users. And, to attract ad publishers, the search giant needs to guarantee that a business will be able to reach mostly people that are interested in their product. How does Google do that? Well, it monitors your activity online — your searches, the music that you like, the videos that you watch, the types of apps that you like, the ads you click on, and the products you are most likely to view in online stores or service providers.

But we all know this and have learned to live with the idea, hoping that when robots become sentient, Google's servers wouldn't become their SkyNet. Well, that, and there are certain government bodies and consumer organizations that monitor different companies' actions when it comes to privacy and defending the consumer's interests.

Consumer Watchdog and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse are such consumer advocate bodies and they have recently pointed the FTC's (Federal Trade Commission) attention towards a change of policies Google made back in June. The issue they have with it in particular is the fact that the new policy, which Google asked you to agree to back then, outlines that the company will now be able to merge the data that its various services collect on you — Maps, Play Music, Search, etc. — with its DoubleClick advertising service. Basically, it will be able to paint a clearer picture of who a specific person is and what their interests and routines are, then feed that information in its ad service.

Apparently, back in 2007, when Google acquired DoubleClick, the search giant promised that it wouldn't merge the data it collects on users with the advertising network. Now, it has gone back to change that practice.

“But the privacy policy changes were presented to the user, asking them to manually accept them”, we hear you say. True, and we will skip the smarmy “nobody reads these anyway” comment. However, the consumer advocates claim that Google didn't explain the changes well enough to the users, and many may have pressed “accept” without having an idea what exactly it is their phone is asking them.

The FTC said it is currently looking into the allegations. Should it find Google guilty of misleading consumers and crossing that privacy line yet again, the consumer watchdogs say that the company could be forced to forgo its ad-generated earnings from the month of June to today. Ouch.

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source: The Washington Post

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7 Comments

1. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Are they going to actually follow through with this or will the government turn a blind eye to Google once more?

2. KingSam

Posts: 1496; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Who cares. Googles services are good. Its not like I have anything hiding anyway. People often talk of privacy, but I'm no government official or such so I have nothing go hide.

3. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

I want some one or something to review Apple's over price concern :-p

4. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

When it comes down to it, if a user says that they agree to the terms that Google puts into place and they didn't read it or understand it, then that's on them, not Google. Though oddly enough, I don't even remember even being presented with a change of term and services notice... at least not in the past several years....

5. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1345; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

You know those little blue hyperlinks "Terms of Service" at the bottom of every service you want to use. It's all in there. They make it clear that by using the service you're accepting the terms of service which means it's OUR responsibility to read it, which we of course actually NEVER do.

6. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Google/Alphabet being what they are, and as big as they are, of course has concerns, but there's a lot of other companies, that are significantly more shady about the whole thing that go unnoticed.

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Here's hoping they at least conclude that fukn google can't be demanding sensitive information like bank statements or driver's license just to make use of a gift card on the play store: https://www.dropbox.com/s/spbdgasw2vxph0o/Fkn%20google%20Asking%20for%20Sensitive%20Information%20Just%20to%20use%20Play%20Store%20Gift%20Card.png?dl=0

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