What does Google know about you?

Published on PC Advisor, , May 12, 2009.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently said: “Google knows more about you than your mother.” A few years ago, it might have sounded far-fetched.

But if you’re one of the growing number of people who are using more and more products in Google’s ever-expanding stable (at last count, I was using a dozen), you might wonder if he isn’t on to something.

It’s easy to understand why privacy advocates and policymakers are sounding alarms about online privacy in general – and singling out Google in particular. If you use Google’s search engine, Google knows what you searched for as well as your activity on partner websites that use its ad services. If you use the Chrome browser, it may know every website you’ve typed into the address bar or ‘Omnibox’.

Google’s 17 biggest secrets: …  

… Opacity versus transparency:

Critics say Google has been too vague in explaining how it uses the data it collects, how it shares information among its services and with its advertisers, how it protects that data, and how long it retains that data before deleting or “anonymising” it so that it can’t be tracked back to individual users.

“Because of Google’s opacity as to how it is using that data, and a lack of fundamental information rights [that] users have, [privacy] becomes a very thorny question,” says Dixon … (full text – goes until page 5).

Links: Discuss it on forum RINF.

Comments are closed.