AGs write Google over new privacy policy

Bryan Cohen Feb. 22, 2012, 1:30pm

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Thirty-one state attorneys general and five territorial attorneys general have requested that Google revise its recently changed privacy policy.

In a letter to Larry Page, the CEO of Google, the attorneys general expressed several worries with the new privacy policy, particularly the way users share data between Google services. The attorneys general want to ensure that the policy effectively protects the personal data of its users.

"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 attorneys general wrote.

"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."

The attorneys general stressed that given the dominant presence of Google online and with its Android smartphones, many users would have trouble opting out of Google's privacy policy by using a different service. Many educational and government institutions have also started utilizing Google services, and this new policy ignites worries about their information security.

The attorneys general asked that Google revise its new privacy policy to enable users to opt-in to the new policy and ascertain for themselves how they want their information to be shared among the services of Google. The revision would comply with Google's pledge under its prior policy not to reduce the privacy rights of users without their unequivocal consent.

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