Is Google Making Up Fake Laws In Order To Cover For Its Retention Policies?

from the we-have-to dept

Over the years, Google has taken a lot of flack from privacy advocates concerned about its data retention policies. The company has tried to mollify its critics by shortening the duration of time that it holds customer data, and claiming that it’s compelled to hold onto search data to comply with legal regulations, in particular EU data retention laws. But as Ryan Singel points out, the legal angle is almost certainly bogus. While the EU does require companies to hold onto certain types of data, there’s nothing that requires the collection of search data, as it’s collected now. Basically, Google is using the law as a guise to cover the fact that it likes having lots of data on its users, as any company would. If it didn’t have such a data jones, it wouldn’t, as Singel points out, collect such extensive data for its personalized services without informing users. Because of its high profile, Google makes for a popular target among privacy advocates, and it could be argued that in many cases, the company gets an unfair shake. Still, it does itself no favors by making specious arguments to defend its position.

Companies: google

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Comments on “Is Google Making Up Fake Laws In Order To Cover For Its Retention Policies?”

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PleX says:

Well Duhhhhhhh...

Don’t search for kiddie porn and you have no damn problem if someone knows what you search for… Who gives a rats ass if I searched for “how to bake cookies” I’m glad they retain that stuff to prosecute mofo’s who should be tracked…

And no, I don’t care either if they save my documents, or my pics, or my conversations or my email, why in gods name would I use those services for business anyways? Every ISP on the planet has the exact same capabilities if they wanted to…

Every time someone whines about google retaining too much data all I can say is well, “your the dumbass who searched for how to blow up the white house” and, if you dont like it, go to yahoo or some other search engine ya whiny asses…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well Duhhhhhhh...

PleX – You say you have no need for privacy; but I doubt it. You don’t have to surf for kiddie porn to want your personal life to be private.

Do you have the curtains in your living room and the shades in your bedroom open all the time? You don’t? Why not? Are you having sex with children?

G-d save us from people like you.

Paul says:

Missing the point

You are completely missing the point here.
No one is taking you privacy away.
There is a company called google that provides many services that imply taking part of your privacy. You don’t like it? don’t use them. You keep your privacy. Your choice.
When you go to the cinema you don’t have much privacy either. I don’t see anyone complaining that the cinema does not provide curtains for each client.

It’s your choice. Just don’t take the choice away from me.

Tim says:

Re: Missing the point


I think you’re missing the point. Google doesn’t give us a choice – at least not without making it difficult. If you put a page up on the internet, Google crawls and indexes it unless you specifically (through arcane technical means as far as laymen are concerned) tell them not to. You write a book, they get a copy of it and scan it in. You send email to a buddy that happens to use GMail – your correspondence gets read, tracked, and archived forever. You buy something online from a merchant using Google Checkout – Google gets a copy of your consumer credit report.

Now — you can choose ever to correspond with anyone using gmail, never to buy anything online, never to write a book, never to put up a web page, never to walk outside in public, etc etc… but is that a choice you really want to make?

WisdomMyFriend says:

Right To Give Up Privacy

I have a suggestion for these idiots with the, “nothing to hide” mentality.

American government can just solve this easily, what I propose is simple.

At Age 18, You are granted the option of waiving the 4th Amendment Right to Privacy, and you waive any Right to Privacy from neighbors or other community members. All your personal information, habits, etc are deemed public information.

If you do not sign the waiver then you are always suspect as being someone who has something to hide and the government will be aware of this, however your privacy remains intact until there’s probable cause to get a warrant.

Which one would you sign? I would sign the 2nd option, and my guess is that most EDUCATED people would do the same.

Now as for Google, yes, they are a private company and anyone can go somewhere else, however fortunately for Google being in a country that is a democracy, the people can make laws through their representatives to tell Google, “Hey hold on cowboy, your taking this world domination thing too far.”

I also don’t understand why a company who’s logo is “Do No Evil” would justify this extreme data retention.

Huge Personal Databases of Personal Information Centralized = Big Brother = Evil


Google = Evil

However Google is excellent to use, so are we being seduced by evil?

Dave Simpson says:

Hey Tim,
Seriously, If you don’t like google don’t use it. Their job is to provide the best search engine and not to plaicate your paranoia.

Everything you listed is true of credit card companies, bookstores, all on-line merchants, my mechanic, my chiropractor, buying a car, going into the post office and just about any aspect of modern life.

If you actually understood IP correlation and the issues involved (warrants, etc.) in google or anyone else getting your info from your ISP to correlate with your searches, you would realize that you are “safer” there than any of other places I listed.

That herring sure is red. I’m so glad you passionately brought its color to our attention. Maybe if we all get our panties in a bunch over our fake, made-up rights being taken away by Google, we can ignore the fact that our REAL Constitutional rights are disappearing.

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