MD AG Gansler Challenges Google on New Privacy Policy

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Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler sent a letter to Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page outlining multiple concerns regarding Google’s recently announced changes to its privacy policy and requesting a meeting with Mr. Page as soon as possible. Thirty-five other states and territories joined in the letter. Google has been given a week to reply to the request.

The policy changes, scheduled to automatically take effect for all users of Google products and services on March 1, 2012, invade consumers’ privacy by unilaterally allowing Google to raid information it collects when a consumer uses one Google product and share it with all other service and products offered by Google. Individuals who allow Google access to certain information as part of using one service will now, whether they want to or not, be giving Google authority to use that information for all its services and products. Users who would like to use one Google product without allowing Google to access the information provided when they use another Google service will generally not be able to do so. The new policy also potentially heightens the risk of identity theft and fraud, since Google will now be storing far more comprehensive, consolidated personal information profiles.

“I am deeply concerned about Google’s effort to push a major privacy change on consumers without giving them the choice to opt in, or at a minimum the opportunity to opt out,” said Attorney General Gansler. “After years of touting its commitment to meaningful privacy choices for its users, Google should abide by its claimed privacy principles and let consumers decide whether to say ‘No thanks’ to a new policy.”

Read more at Citybizlist

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