Google’s New Privacy Policy: What Has Changed and What You Can Do About It

Wired.com today published an article from a blog at webmonkey.com: Google’s New Privacy Policy: What Has Changed and What You Can Do About It | Webmonkey | Wired.com.

I posted an update towards the end of this article describing “Tom Henderson’s Divorce From Google”

I am quoting from the first article above:

(begin quote)

Google and Privacy

Why Google's Privacy Changes Are Good for Advertisers

It was on March 1st that Google’s broad new privacy policy went into effect. European regulators are claiming it violates data protection laws, but it’s here and it may be here to stay.

There are some not-completely-foolproof ways to hide from Google, but first let’s talk about what’s changed. Prior to today, Google had more than 70 privacy policies for its various products. But with the company trying to create a seamless experience across search, Gmail, Google+, Google Docs, Picasa, and much more, Google is consolidating the majority of its policies down into just one document covering most of its products. This will make it easier for Google to track users for the purpose of serving up personalized ads.

“The main change is for users with Google Accounts,” Google said at the time of its January announcement. “Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.”

(end quote)

If you really want to protect your privacy you might reconsider having an account at Google. But if you have an Android phone there is just no way to live without that Google account. The last resort is to use a Browser like Tor:

(begin quote)

For those who are really willing to put some work into staying anonymous, downloading a Tor client may be the right step. Tor encrypts your web traffic and sends it through a randomly selected series of computers, preventing shadowy third parties from learning what sites you visit or where you’re located. The Tor Project even played a role in helping Iranians get back online after a recent government crackdown on Internet usage.

(end quote)

A friend of mine reacted already and moved his blog from the Google Blog to wordpress.com. More might follow. Are the times where we had at least some illusion of privacy over by now?

What do you think? Or should we just “get over it?”

via Google’s New Privacy Policy: What Has Changed and What You Can Do About It | Webmonkey | Wired.com.

Update: Tom Henderson’s Divorce From Google

Tom Henderson, ITworld, wrote an interesting article about his “Divorce from Google”. As all divorces it becomes quite messy and time consuming. He recommends the following steps:

  1. Day one: Inventory
  2. Day two: Leave no tracks, start to delete cookies
  3. Day three: Reality check, delete more cookies, install redirected host files
  4. Day four: Removing supercookies, install cookie and tracking blocker
  5. Day five: Android
  6. Day six: The replacements (see below)
  7. Day seven: A few withdrawal pains, but otherwise good

Henderson gives a list of possible application replacements for things Google might be currently doing for you:

  • Google Search: Duck Duck Go, doesn’t store info or cookies; no location-based tracking
  • Google Plus +: Social Networking Portal, numerous alternatives
  • Google Voice: Skype; ooVoo
  • Google Docs: Numerous alternatives
  • Google Mail: Numerous alternatives
  • Google Translate: See alternativeTo for other choices
  • Android: Boot-to-Gecko, Ubuntu, Windows 8 Mobile, iOS/iPhone
  • Google TV: See alternativeTo for other choices
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One Response to Google’s New Privacy Policy: What Has Changed and What You Can Do About It

  1. [...] have a Google account. For all those of you that rather not have a Google account (see my blog on  Google’s new privacy policy and the update on “Tom Henderson’s Divorce From Google“) there are plenty of [...]

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