Google Privacy

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Google and Privacy are oxymoronic: you are the product that they sell (your information is used by them, or sold by them to advertisers). You don't pay Google in dollars/fees/licenses, you pay them by letting them watch everything you do, and selling that to others. So they protect your data/privacy from everyone but them, and those that pay them. You can be fine with that trade, but you need to know it's happening, and they have made many "mistakes" on the side of oversharing:

  • The Verge on "The Selfish Ledger" - a disturbing concept to reshape humanity with data. (1984 was supposed to be a warning not a business plan). [1]
  • Google promised the FTC to get affirmative consent (a "OK" checkbox) before sharing customers data from Applications. Then they broke their promise. Many times. They paid a $22.5 million fine from the Obama administration’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for doing it. Then did it again.[2]
  • Google acquired the Ad Platform DoubleClick (and their customers) under one set of rules (no sharing of personal information), and then moved their model to the exact opposite (targeted advertising and sharing of personal information to get better ads).
  • Google has more of your private data than Facebook, yet Facebook gets the heat. (Google has more lobbyists and spends more buying Washington, which might have something to do with that). [3]


Google isn't upset that Russians might have used them to pry, target customers, and try to manipulate an election. They're mad because they didn't make enough off selling them that data, or that you weren't manipulated in the way that they like.

EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) testified before congress and reminded them that when the Ad Platform DoubleClick was created it was under the terms of user anonymity, to quote, "DoubleClick does not know the name, email address, phone number, or home address of anybody who visits a site in the DoubleClick Network. All users who receive an ad targeted by DoubleClick's technology remain completely anonymous. Since we do not have any information concerning names or addresses, we do not sell or rent any such information to third parties". But once Google acquired them, despite warnings to the FTC about privacy concerns, Google broke many of the agreements to protect privacy that DoubleClick had established, and went further by evolving from contextual advertising (what you're watching) to behavioral advertising (who you are) -- doing the exact opposite of anonymized viewing, but targeted advertising based on personal information. [4]


🎤 Google (Nest Division) sort of fucked up -- they had microphones in their Nest line of security products, and didn't really tell people (or call it out). Some people were creeped out by having a microphone in their bedrooms, etc., and Google not being clear about it (keeping it "secret"). Worst of all is that there is one in the Smoke Detectors, that wasn't completely disclosed. Failure to communicate. more...


📚 References