Google Tells Congress: Users Can Opt-Out Of New Privacy Policy By Not Logging In

google-legal-lawThat was quick. Google has already replied to several questions from Congress about the new, combined privacy policy that the company announced a week ago today.

But in its letter, Google may not be giving Congress a good enough answer on lawmakers’ main question about users being able to opt-out. Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said last week that Google’s announcement

…raises concerns about whether consumers can opt-out of this new data sharing system.

Pablo Chavez, Google’s director of public policy, begins his response to Congress by reframing the question:

We understand the question at the heart of this concern. We believe that the relevant issue is whether users have choices about how their data is collected and used. Google’s privacy policy – like that of other companies – is a document that applies to all consumers using our products and services.

Google eventually does answer the can users opt-out? question by explaining that not logging in is how users can opt-out of having data shared across Google products and services:

If people continue to use Google services after March 1, they’ll be doing so under the updated privacy policy. The use of a primary privacy policy that covers many products and enables the sharing of data between them is an industry standard approach adopted by companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Apple.

It’s also important to remember that even after the changes, users will still be able to use many of our products – such as Google Search and YouTube – without logging into their Google Account or creating one in the first place.

Chavez also clarifies that the new privacy policy will “covers users signed into their Google Accounts on Android phones just as it does users signed into their Google Accounts from a desktop computer.”

It remains to be seen if the House committee members will be satisfied by Google’s response that logging out is how users can opt-out of the new, combined privacy policy.

(Stock image via Used under license.)

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Accounts & Profiles | 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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  • fjpoblam

    Oh, that’s good. How does a person use Gmail, then? Privacy, schmivacy.

  • sonutch

    Nice Post…..I Like It………..

    Golden Triangle India

  • Luis Galarza

    Tell me about, this smells like BS in the air! I don’t think web users are going to buy on their new policies changes, the whole thing has ‘unethical’ written all over!

  • Web Companies

    Great non-answer by Google!

  • Anonymous

    Google deliberately tells us only the “benefits” of their new, simplified privacy policy. They don’t tell us the downsides, of course. To understand those, you have to digg deep and read the complete policy… and, let’s be honest, who bothers?

    I really feel that Google owes every user a FULLY informed opt-in option, including an explanation of the downsides, too. That’s why I’ve signed this petition…

    If you think this can’t affect you, please read the petition, sign it and share it.

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