There was some controversy at the conference when one of the speakers, Pamela Jones Harbour (former US Federal Trade Commissioner and partner at Fulbright & Jaworski), admitted that Microsoft is a client of hers and that violating users’ privacy is very good for business at Google because of the company’s advertising model. Her primary argument was that data is today’s currency and large companies like Google have a near monopoly on data.
Another speaker, Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch UK, questioned whether users actually read privacy policies and stated that despite Google’s new policy having been the best advertised policy change to date, only 12 percent of users had read it. He added that “Google is putting advertiser’s interests before user privacy … [and while a] simpler policy may make it easier for Google to exploit personal information, … it does not make the implications more transparent for users.”
- Why will Google not provide an ‘opt out’ option in its new policy?
- How can users learn which types of data are being collected about them? The Dashboard feature only provides information for 20 products, not the 60+ products the new policy covers.
- How many users did Google expect to leave Google? The only apparent opt-out available to Google users is to cease logging in to Google products and close their accounts.