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Google's New Privacy Policies Stir Debate

In the wake of controversial changes to its privacy policy, Google is trying to set the record straight with Congress. 

“Google announced plans to rewrite its privacy policy last week,” CNet reminds us. “The revision will give the company explicit rights to ‘combine personal information’ across the many products and services it currently offers.”

“Of course, this raised concern, confusion has led to stories circulating the Web about the inherent danger of the revised TOS,” Engadget reports. Unfortunately, “most of the wild-eyed fear mongering was done by those who either had not read or had not understood what the simplified policies mean (though, we hardly fault them for being suspicious).”

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Still, responding to concerns, government officials issued a statement last week, confirming plans to request that the Federal Communications Commission launch a probe to investigate the changes. 

"Last week, we heard from members of Congress about Google's plans to update our privacy policies by consolidating them into a single document on March 1," Google director of public policy Pablo Chavez wrote this week in a blog post accompanying a 13-page letter to several Congress members. "Protecting people's privacy is something we think about all day across the company, and we welcome discussions about our approach. We hope this letter, in which we respond to the members' questions, clears up the confusion about these changes."

“Before answering the questions presented in the letter from Congress, Google took some time to outline aspects of its policies that will not change,” reports 9to5Google. “Among them: Google reminded Congress that the new policy will only apply to users signed into a Google account, while those signed in can still access the usual privacy settings like turning off search history, tailoring ads within Ads Preferences Manager, and setting Gmail chat to ‘off the record.’” 

Indeed, “Google also goes to great pains to let its users know exactly what isn’t changing,” writes The Next Web

“In the letter, Google notes that the old policies have restricted the company’s ability to combine info within an account for Web history (search history for signed in users) and YouTube,” reports WebProNews.

“It has yet to be seen whether or not Google’s transparency in regards to its new policy will quieten [sic] fears and convince users that all they are getting is ‘a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,’” The Next Web adds.

 

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