States question Google's privacy changes

ADVERTISEMENT
"Our updated Privacy Policy will make our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users," a Google spokesman said. "We’ve undertaken the most extensive notification effort in Google’s history, and we’re continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services services. Of course we are happy to discuss this approach with regulators globally."

But the attorneys general said the privacy update "appears to invade consumer privacy."

"Consumers have diverse interests and concerns, and may want the information in their Web History to be kept separate from the information they exchange via Gmail," they wrote.

The attorneys general argued that users of phones powered by Google's Android operating system might have little choice about opting out of the information-sharing.

"For these consumers, avoiding Google’s privacy policy change may mean buying an entirely new phone at great personal expense," the officials wrote.

The attorneys general also expressed concern that consolidating the personal information could make users more vulnerable to hacks. 

They said that if the changes really were positive for consumers, Google would offer the service as an "opt-in" feature.

"Unfortunately, Google has not only failed to provide an 'opt-in' option, but has failed to provide meaningful 'opt-out' options as well," they argued.

More in Technology

Google facing $18.6 million fine over Dutch privacy violations

Read more »