36 State Attorneys General Call For Privacy Meeting With Google

google-privacy-200It’s not just the U.S. federal government that has concerns with Google’s new privacy policy.

Three dozen state attorneys general want to meet with Google “as soon as possible” to discuss the company’s privacy changes — changes that are due to take effect on March 1st.

In a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, the attorneys general say they have “strong concerns” with Google’s “troubling” new privacy policy.

Until now, users of Google’s many products could use different products in different ways, expecting that information they provide for one product, such as YouTube, would not be synthesized with information they provide for another product, such as Gmail and Maps. The new policy forces these consumers to allow information across all of these products to be shared, without giving them the proper ability to opt out.

Google announced its new privacy policy a month ago, saying that a universal policy across almost all of its properties will be clearer for users to understand. The major change that affects users is that Google will expand the sharing of information across its properties — web search, YouTube, and so forth.

In response to the immediate criticism that there’s no opt-out mechanism, Google said users can opt-out by not logging in to a Google account. In today’s letter, the attorneys general said that’s not much of a choice.

It rings hollow to call their ability to exit the Google products ecosystem a “choice” in an Internet economy where the clear majority of all Internet users use – and frequently rely on – at least one Google product on a regular basis.

The attorneys general have asked Google to reply to their letter and meeting request by next Wednesday, February 29. Their letter can be downloaded here (PDF).

Google is already facing increased scrutiny over its privacy changes both in Europe and in the U.S. Congress.

Postscript: After this article was published, Google contacted us to share this statement:

“Our updated Privacy Policy will make our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users. We’ve undertaken the most extensive notification effort in Google’s history, and we’re continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services services. Of course we are happy to discuss this approach with regulators globally.”

[Ed. note: The sentence above referencing the "major change that affects users" has been updated to reflect that Google will not "begin" this kind of data sharing, but expand it beyond the data sharing that already takes place.]

(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Legal | Google: Privacy | Legal: Privacy | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Verra-Crystal/100003514983641 Verra Crystal

    its better policy which google announces….


  • amandeep kaur

    Vinyl Bannersthanks for sharing such a valuable information.

  • vivian zara

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  • http://twitter.com/heeber Matthew Heeb

    If you want to use Google’s products and don’t want them to know anything about you then just don’t login in like Google recommended. These Attorney Generals have a lack of knowledge about how the internet works. If they want a service to be free and not charge anything for it then they (the states) should pay Google to allow citizens to use the service.  

  • http://www.brautkleiderkaufen.de/ Hochzeitskleid

    Google is strong!

  • bili james

    I think so

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