Don't You Feel Safer Now That Google Added A Link To Its Privacy Policy?

from the phew! dept

One of the more idiotic accusations thrown at Google of late was this idea that it was somehow a problem that it didn't link directly to its privacy policy from its home page. It had a privacy policy. That privacy policy was easy to find. Almost no one actually reads its privacy policy -- but a bunch of privacy groups who surely had more important things to spend their time on got all upset that Google refused to link from its front page. It appears that Google has now given in and agreed to link to the privacy policy, oddly removing the word "Google" from its copyright notice and replacing it with a link to the privacy policy.

Perhaps more idiotic is the response from a bunch of privacy groups claiming that this somehow makes a difference. It doesn't. It's privacy theater. It looks good, but it means nothing. People still won't read the privacy policy -- and even if they did, they probably wouldn't even remember what it said. Where a privacy policy is linked from a website is meaningless compared to what a company actually does to take the privacy of its users seriously. Getting up in arms over whether or not Google links to the privacy policy from its front page is a joke. And, oh yeah, some are noticing that just linking to the privacy policy probably does not fulfill the legal obligation required by California's law on linking to privacy policies. Perhaps these "privacy advocate" groups have something else to complain about now.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    eleete, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 8:28am

    I do feel much better.

    Oh yes, one more text link that no one will read, and that a judge will just render garble with a broad stroke of his injustice, pandering once more to the media industry. Much better indeed.
    Viacom vs Google $1 billon they think is worthless
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080703/0154271581.shtml

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Mort, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    Re: I do feel much better.

    Is there a point to this senseless rant? Or have you forgotten to take your Prozac/Ritalin again? Maybe next time, you can concentrate on constructing complete, coherent sentences, and after that, we'll work on confining your comments to the actual topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    The Green Banana, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Smelly things

    It's great that Google now has a privacy policy. But why did it take so long? What is hiding behind the curtan?

    Also, I love cheese and eleete is awesome too. Mort is just rotting meat and not very tasty. Trust me, I know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Stute, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 8:41am

    But it was threre already

    on my iGoogle homepage...


    So ummm... What was the point again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    eleete, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Right on target

    The topic is do you feel safer. The answer, No I do not !
    for the mentally impaired above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    James, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    Sweeeeeet!

    I feel so much more private now searching for pr0n.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Skippy T. Mut, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:11am

    Who cares...

    With Viacom's recent win in getting all of GooTubes's user data the privacy of Google data is meaningless anyway. As soon as some company gets all pissed off about people supposedly searching for copyrighted data all of that "private" Google data will be turned over to someone else anyway.

    It's a false sense of security and means absolutely nothing. They shouldn't even bother having the policy in the first place!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:23am

    I thought you were all about personal rights, Mike. Just because you can find it doesn't mean that someone who is computer illerate can find it. Stop being a technology elitist. That is the kind of smugness that makes you sound like Obama.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Brandon, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:24am

    So it is

    I've been to Google a few times this morning and didn't even notice that link was added to the main page until I read this post. I even went back to see it for myself! Granted, I still didn't click on it and read it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:24am

    I give no credence to any privacy policy, and particularly those containing boilerplate that it can be changed at any time at the site's sole discretion and without notice being given before any such change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    greyfade, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:36am

    28

    They've been keeping their front-page word count down. It's been as high as 61 and as low as 13. Right now, it's at 28 words, and to keep it from getting more wordy, they dropped the (obvious and implied) "Google" from the copyright and replaced it with "Privacy."

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/what-comes-next-in-this-series-13-33-53.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Grae, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:40am

    @8: Mike's entire point is that "computer illerate" (as you put it) people won't check the privacy policy anyway.

    None of the computer illiterate people I know are even aware that companies that run websites may even have a privacy policy. They either assume that all transactions online can be snooped on by hackers (if they're paranoid) or that everything they do is private.

    Oh and by the way, don't look now, but your politics are showing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    A good joke

    It would be funny if the Privacy link was just a rickroll. I wonder if anyone would ever find out?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: I do feel much better.

    I'm pretty sure he just said, "when a Judge can force Google to violate any Privacy Policy they draft, what does it matter where the link goes?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 9:55am

    Re: Smelly things

    Google's HAD a policy. And it's been visible and trivial to find. Now there's a link on the front page, and people are acting like this is a huge step for the rights of the people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    Mike's point is that this is a meaningless gesture. Having a link on the front page doesn't change anything at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 10:01am

    Re: A good joke

    That would be awesome.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Red, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 10:36am

    I'm utterly confused why people keep reading these articles thinking that it is just unbiased reports on the news, and then complaining when it isn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    snowburn14, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Online Privacy

    I know it's been mentioned before, albeit in various ways, but it bears repeating: there is no such thing as online privacy. Anyone who expects their online activities - from what sites they visit to what they actually post - to remain confidential is delusional. It may not always be the site's intention to disclose such information, but I have yet to find any that don't leave themselves a loophole or two should their intentions change. Not to mention the obvious cases of sites whose sole purpose is to gather (and usually sell) information about what people are doing online.
    Personally, I think if they're going to bother with laws governing privacy notices on websites, they should all just say the following:
    Everything you view, click, post, or otherwise have anything to do with on our site can at any time be revealed to a third party without notice of any kind given to you. Use at your own risk.
    It'd save a fair amount of space on their servers, and be a lot more accurate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Re:

    So if you aren't going to check it then you shouldn't have easy access to it. Does anyone actually read the private policy when they sign up for anything anymore? Well, let's just get rid of that too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    JD, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Google has a homepage?

    I haven't been to it for years. Search bars and igoogle are much more efficient. Bob Denver for president 2008!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    dkp, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    um no never have never will

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Re: Smelly things

    Google has always had a privacy policy. It could be found under the link on the front page... let's see, what was it called...

    OH! I KNOW! "About Google..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Eliot, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    Overreaction...

    Mike, I think this is a bit of an overreaction on your part. It was good for Google -- a site who catalogues damn near the entire internet, and then some -- to have their privacy policy easy to find. It may not have been difficult to find before, but in a site as all encompassing as Google, they should make it as easy as humanly possible to get this information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Wiley, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Just Google It!

    Why not just Google "Google Privacy Policy?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    before today, i didn't feel safe at all using google. every time i did a search, i felt unsafe. every time i did an image search, i felt unsafe. every time i checked my gmail, i felt unsafe.

    today, i can finally feel safe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    John, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    So, um, what was the point?

    The point to this is that a small "privacy group" got to tell Google how to manage its site. The "privacy group" now has bragging rights about it made the "large site" "cave to our demands".

    Look out, Yahoo and Microsoft- you may be next.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 6:18pm

    and...

    "People still won't read the privacy policy -- and even if they did, they probably wouldn't even remember what it said."

    And, if they remembered what it said, unless they are lawyers willing to do legal research on the terminology, they certainly won't understand the legal implications of the terminology used.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 6:18pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This