Protect Personal Privacy on Google

Target: Peter Fleischer, Google Global Privacy Counsel

Goal: Revise privacy policies to better inform customers of personal data being collected and used online

European Union regulators have recently threatened Google with legal action over the company’s new privacy policies. The European efforts, led by French data regulator CNIL, accuses Google of not being clear enough concerning the information the company collects about customers’ internet usage.

A decision made in March allows Google to amass data on clients’ online activity using a wide range of sources, including YouTube, Google+, and Android phones. Google Global Privacy Counsel, Peter Fleischer, must ensure that his company takes steps to protect the privacy of all Google users.

While only making strong recommendations at present, the European Union has made it clear that a failure to address concerns will result in sanctions against Google. The Europeans are concerned that Google has failed to set concrete limits on the combination of data collected across platforms and services, and that users are unable to exert sufficient control.

Currently, users are asked to accept Google’s privacy policy before gaining access to full Google services. The Europeans want much more specific consent to be given by users on each issue, afraid that information is being pooled on unknowing individuals for the benefit of advertisers. French investigators also expressed concern over Google’s failure to report on how long it retains specific types of data.

European Union officials have made several recommendations. First, clients must have more control over and be made more aware of the information Google retains on them. An interactive online presentation detailing this information has been suggested. Second, Google should allow clients the ability to decide which of Google’s services collect and provide information on them, if any. And finally, Google should use its own technology to protect users against unauthorized data usage or sharing.

Reports say that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will soon be investigating Google search engine practices. Clearly, this is a global issue. Pressure Google’s Global Privacy Counsel, Peter Fleischer, to work with his company and ensure a safe and private experience for Google users.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Fleischer,

Recent accusations in Europe have questioned Google’s privacy policies. Primarily, European officials are concerned that Google has not provided users with sufficient control over the information collected about them. With so many different avenues through which Google can gather client information, many users may feel unsafe and insecure performing private matters online.

I ask that your company consider the points raised by the European investigators. Namely, give users more control over the information your company gathers about them, perhaps through online presentations on data usage. Allow clients to select which of Google’s services—if any—are authorized to collect personal information. And finally, use Google’s own retinue of tools to ensure that personal user data does not fall into the wrong hands.

I appreciate your consideration of this important global issue.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: osde8info

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