Google Under Fire for New Privacy Policy

Lately the internet seems like it has become more of a target with proposed copyright infringement bills, crackdowns on file-sharing sites and now Google’s new privacy policy.

Google’s new privacy policy doesn’t go into effect until March 1; however, as soon as the search engine giant revealed the new policy on its site, the hoopla began.

The basic gist is that Google is getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies and replacing them with just one. All of Google’s different services now fall under the one policy that the search engine will be tracking what you do, remember your various information (such as contacts) and then remember it across its various properties.

It’s not just your searches on Google that are being tracked and remembers, it’s everything you do logged in as a user on all of Google’s services (Google+, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, etc.).

Any time people think their privacy is at risk in any way, there’s an outcry, and this time isn’t any different. However, Google has made it clear that you can turn off the tracking if you want to, and even provides steps on how to do it.

Users aren’t the only ones hesitant — Google executives faced members of Congress, but didn't seem to convince them that the new policy invades users' privacy. There will be hearings this spring, according to USA Today.

The European Union is asking that Google holds off on its new privacy policy in the EU until it data protection authorities have looked more closely at it, according to the Associated Press.

This isn’t the first time Google has been scrutinized and even come under fire.

There was Google Buzz, which has since faded away. Google Buzz was a precursor to Google+, the company’s social networking response to Facebook. It was integrated into Gmail and account holders were immediately opted in. The weak privacy settings led to a breach of user information by listing the names of Gmail contacts that the user frequently emailed.

The company has also faced a number of lawsuits because of its Street View, which collects images of houses and businesses and pairs them with Google Map. In Germany, opposition was so strong that residents can ask in advance to not be included. Typically, it’s only once an image of your house is up that people can request it be removed.

Google has also been criticized for its “creepy” ads that are targeted to users based on they’ve been writing in emails.