Google on privacy: You want choice? You got choice

31 Mar 2008

In a revamp of its privacy centre and through multimedia like YouTube channels, Google appears committed to clearly explaining its privacy policies to customers for products and services like Gmail and Firefox.

The new site directs to the specially created YouTube channel with videos starring Google employees which explain simply how things like cookies work in gathering information from your web browser and remembering passwords and previous visits.

Videos explain topics ranging from how to use Blogger effectively without compromising your personal data, to overviews of web history and tips for using Google Street View. This particular tool has received criticism in the past for views which show people’s backyards and windows.

“The new centre is a one-stop shop for privacy resources, with various multimedia formats aimed to help you further understand how we store and use data; how to control who you share your data with; and how we protect your privacy,” said Jane Horvath, senior privacy counsel and Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel, in a joint post on the official Google blog.

While Google is aiming for greater transparency on its privacy practices organisations in the past have asked, “When Google is watching you, who is watching Google?”

An independent European advisory group on personal data privacy, the Article 29 Working Party, last year complained to Google about its policy of holding users’ internet search and email data for up to two years.

However, Flesicher has in the past said: “Every business collects data about its customers. It has an obligation to protect the privacy of its customers. This means ensuring that the security measures are adequate to protect that information against hacks and leaks.”

By Marie Boran