Blog Post

Google’s privacy nightmare just starting

Nothing comes between my alogarithm and profits. Or so thought Google when it made a decision to buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion dollars. Except they hadn’t counted on pesky politicians and busy bodies who would make a stink about the privacy policies of Google, and file complaints with say, Federal Trade Commission.

Electronics Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy and US Public Interest Research Group filed a complaint (#) with the FTC asking the government body to “assess the ability of Google to record, analyze, track, and profile the activities of Internet users with data that is both personally identifiable and data that is not personally identifiable.”

Though most of the issues are quite well known amongst the technorati, the groups are right in bringing them up, as Google’s dominance of the online world is only increasing. Just FYI, Vint Cerf, the Internet visionary and a Google vice president is on the board of advisers of EPIC, which in itself is worthy of a quip, except I can’t think of one right now.

Read: The Washington Post

9 Responses to “Google’s privacy nightmare just starting”

  1. I already blogged about this weeks ago, but basically, Google can put toghether the IPs you use to connect to their services (such as the popular GMail), and the records sent in by thousands of websites using Google Analytics to record traffic use, browsing patterns and so on.

    As a practical exercise, your blog uses Analytics, which means Google knows about all the GMail (as an example) users who also read your blog. And they know what they read, how often, where they click, and so on. They log into their GMail account, so their IP gets recorded, from which point it can be tracked on any Analytics-enabled site. I’m not sure if Adwords records the IP addresses of visitors, could be worth investigating.

    Not saying that Google Analytics is -a bad thing-, I use it on my blog too, but there are implications that will have to be considered eventually, if Google keeps gaining power.

  2. Timothy

    ya google ! but u must check the biggest flaw discovered recently by Abhishek ( on how security of corporate data is lost by google’s cache and mistake of 37signals

  3. Dave, I think that GigaOm’s coverage of Google, the hottest company in the world, is commensurate to demand from inquiring minds. Not only that, Google has been making a lot of news lately. I’m sorry to say, but it’s hard to escape reading about Google when you turn your attention to any techie blog.

  4. OM – Dude!!

    WTF – all you write about is Google – look at your blog roll for the last three months – why are you letting a good blog go to waste with these lame and LAZY blogging.

    I’m removing GigaOm from my bookmarks.

  5. I believe that Google sincerely hopes to protect users’ information. Nonetheless, we should definitely not take anything for granted. There are a number of things that can go wrong: accidental exposure of data, greed overcoming ethics, etc.

    I think another interesting point that the Post article raises is that of monopoly. (It is quite funny that it was Microsoft to scream ‘foul’.) I don’t think that Google’s 60 percent share of the U.S. search market is one, but DoubleClick’s 85 percent share of ‘display and video ads’ combined with AdWords certainly starts to look like one. It might fly in the U.S., but I seriously doubt that it will go unchallenged in EU.