EPIC Seeks To Prevent Google's Privacy Changes
EPIC says in its motion that advertisers' keywords can now "target YouTube and Google search histories, expanding the pool from which advertisers can obtain information about users." Therefore, EPIC argues, advertisers "can often access this additional information, in the form of the targeted keywords or searched-for phrase, when users click on the targeted ads."
But Google says that EPIC "is wrong on the facts and the law." The company says it isn't changing how any "personal information" is shared with outsiders.
Google, like other search engines, sends referrer headers to marketers when users click on their ads. Those headers often contain the phrases that were searched for. But Google doesn't send other data about users' search or YouTube histories.
EPIC also criticizes Google for its email to users about the change in policy. EPIC says that the message failed to inform users of the ways they could prevent the company from aggregating data about them. "Google’s email does not indicate that consumers may exercise control over their personal information at all, much less that they may either avoid signing in to their user accounts or create separate user accounts for separate Google services," EPIC argues.
EPIC previously filed a complaint with the FTC over how Google launched Buzz, which created social networks out of people's Gmail contacts. Google designed the now-defunct service so that it initially revealed information about the names of users' email contacts, if users activated Buzz without changing the defaults.