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 <a href=”http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9984175-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20 target=”_new”>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.

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Companies: google

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

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29 Comments
Skippy T. Mut says:

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!

Grae says:

@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.

snowburn14 says:

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.

Eliot says:

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.

Danny says:

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.

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