• http://twitter.com/CPC_Andrew Andrew Davis

    Thanks for taking the time to put these unnecessary fears about privacy to rest, Danny. It’s something that should be talked about and your idea of a data privacy Bill of Rights is a good one. The bottom line is, more and more online users are becoming interested in this notion of Internet privacy, whether because of Google+’s recent changes, an experience with a potential employer who saw a drunk picture on Facebook, or a Weiner being posted on Twitter. 

    Since much of our lives are now transposed online it’s critical to understand what’s reasonable and what’s not in Internet privacy, and how we should protect ours. You put a lot of work into this post, one of my favorites. Keep holding the lantern high. 

  • http://steveplunkett.com @steveplunkett

    Curious, how long does it take you to write an article that detailed and that detailed?

    thanks for a very informative read. =)

  • phillip clearly

    I think that the most troubling aspect of privacy with Google is the including of email as part of the ‘profiling’ … even if it is supposedly only read by computers, there is a sense that Gmail is not ‘private’ or ‘confidential’. This is not the case with either Live or Hotmail. If that is taken out of the equation, Google and Microsoft can be viewed on the same footing.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    This took about 2 1/2 hours, thought I was thinking about some aspects of it yesterday, and it drew on research from my previous articles. If I hadn’t already explored some of this stuff, it probably would have been about 5-7 hours. And glad you liked it.

  • Anonymous

    I think the article raise a lot of good points. An it certainly shows that Google still got a lot of work still to do to tidy up its services and settings areas. Whether they will carry out any more work in this area is anyone guest. 

    Google did seem to hint that the new privacy policy was just the beginning and not the end of the changes.

    I am not sure your PR argument is fair. It seem to me that a lot of the media just wants to catch Google in the act of doing something truly evil, something that cant be justified as a few rogue employees or a honest mistake. The media will pursue Google until they get the story they want or get bored an move onto pursuing another company. Think of the News of the World hacking story, large parts of the media would not let go of it until they got NOW to admit everything and force News corp into shutting down the paper.

    Plus many in the media blame Google for falling profits so they have plenty of motives to attack Google at every opportunity.

    Some journalist have actively admitted such, Charles over at the Guardian for example, he seem to get more desperate with each anti Google article he writes. Over at Forbes you got journalist mentioning anti trust issues at end of articles, for no reason, the article was about Google UI, the author responded to me when I bought it up in the comment section by saying that “It was just a cheap shot at Google. They can take their lumps.”. Here the article;


    I think Google could have done everything your article suggest. Google could have provided an easy to use, simple to understand settings. They could have produce a privacy policy with nice videos explaining exactly what every section means and the media an bloggers would still have attack them, because they want they are so desperate to write negative stories about Google, congress would still have written that letter as pay back for the beaten Google gave them over SOPA, which probably lost them a lot of campaign contributions and future job offers with multi million dollars salaries for doing a few hours of work per week.

    Plus how many of these bloggers and so called jouralists have been paid by Microsoft and Facebook to write these negative stories. Facebook was caught in the act last year paying people to write negative stories about Google and they were only expose because the journalist refuse to the money.

  • Anonymous

    Except for Microsoft Spam filters to fully work there would have to be some customisation going for each users. Microsoft own documentation about its spam technology says its computers read the contents of the email to identify Spam. 
    But the definition of Spam would be slightly different to each individual user.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/birs.gonzo Birs Gonzo

    very nice post

  • caesar castro

    Thanks a lot for a very vivid explanation of this Google’s privacy policy. Now it’s much more lighter to take. Before it gives me an impression that Google wants to game fix ad dominance. It seems that Google is really picking-up the pieces together of its fragmented services. And perhaps this is one way of doing this. http://www.infotechpeek.com

  • Makho Kituashvili
  • Anonymous

    Yea I think Google competitors (I am looking at you Microsoft) saw the chance with these SPYW that raised by Danny as “unfair” (still open for debate) called their PR agents and started disseminating unbalanced view about it.

  • Nabil Al-Kourainy

    Excellent article. Facebook has had similar charges waged against it, and it looks like will continue to do so. 

  • http://grantdb.ca grantdb

    Great post thanks! I would like to point out some info that I found recently:

    “Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. It also does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could be sought by law enforcement.
    With Web History enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months, and certain kinds of uses, including sending you customized search results, will be prevented.” https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/how-remove-your-google-search-history-googles-new-privacy-policy-takes-effect

  • Kyle Polansky

    I like your idea of the Bill of Rights, however there is a problem with that. In real life, you have freedoms allowing you to do stuff, not preventing you from it. Even if you do have the right to silence, you still have the power to talk, although it would be a stupid idea.

    What I’m trying to get at, is what happens if a hacker somehow bypassed the countless security measures that Google has in place? This would break it’s “Bill of Rights”, and Google would be penalized on top of the original problem. There would then be a battle for the “real” bad guy, either Google who didn’t have enough security, or the hacker that caused the entire problem in the first place.

    Legal documents are also really hard to make. If Google wants to make a new product, they can just use the same terms without having to make some new document that hardly anyone reads. They also want to make sure there aren’t any parts of the document that someone could find a hole in.

    Lets also remember that Google is letting their users know before the switch to the new terms. The like was visible on many different Google services I used, and stayed there until I dismissed it. However, I also use a handful of Microsoft Services, and I couldn’t tell you when the last privacy change was. It appears to be in August last year, but I don’t remember getting an e-mail or anything about it.