posted on Apr, 5 2004 @ 10:53 AM
New privacy issues related to g00gle
This week should have seen a public relations triumph for Google. The company began offering a free e-mail service with 100 times as much storage as
Yahoo's $59.99 service. Instead the criticism has taken Google by surprise, as privacy advocates who had never before voiced criticism stepped
forward. Google has previously responded to privacy concerns by saying, "we're nice, trust us" or pointing users to the company's mission
statement of "do no evil". Such trite sentiments didn't work this time; even The Drudge Report piled in.
But it isn't so much Google searching email that has caused the anxiety from privacy watchdogs this week, as the company's confused retention
policy. What will Google do with that data? Google's cookie is an index for all your searches until 2038, and sits alongside an Orkut cookie that
tells Google - or friendly law enforcement officials or marketeers - exactly who you are. Google's Gmail will complete the picture, indexing private
electronic discourse under the main Google search cookie.
"Once users register for Gmail, Google would be able to make that connection, if it chose to," Pam Dixon, head of the World Privacy Forum told the
Los Angeles Times. "And if Google ever compared the two sets of data there are some people who would be chilled and embarrassed." Richard Smith,
formerly at the Privacy Foundation pointed out that "Google kind of makes it easy to connect all the dots together."
"While Google brags that no humans will read your emails, the entire Gmail program will involve extensive automated profiling of you as an
individual. Google will be sharing the non-identifiable portions of your profile with anyone they choose. If the ownership of Google changes, or there
is a merger, the entire personally-identifiable profile will be available to the new owners or partners."