Google’s new piracy – sorry, privacy – policy has caused quite a ruckus this week. From PC Mag:

Google Overhauls, Consolidates Privacy Policies

Google said Tuesday that it has instituted a new, streamlined privacy policy that will consolidate the company’s 70 or so privacy policies across its products down to one – which will pull data from Google users if they’re logged in.

The new privacy policy will go into effect on March 1, Google said.

Google’s business model, like many others around the Web, has been to build a profile of its users and deliver them targeted, high-value advertising, paid by its advertising partners. In return, users get access to a wide variety of different services, from Maps to Gmail to Picasa, whose data can be integrated and shared.

Except . . .

[S]ome worried that information stored in Gmail, for example, could make its way over to Maps. “There is no way anyone expected this,” Jeffrey Chester, executive director of privacy advocacy group the Centre for Digital Democracy, said to the Washington Post. “There is no way a user can comprehend the implication of Google collecting across platforms for information about your health, political opinions and financial concerns.”

Enter Microsoft, which has launched an ad campaign challenging the Google changes. Newspaper version:

From PC Mag:

The advertisement, set to appear in major U.S. newspapers every day this week, is titled “Putting people first” and focuses on how the search giant’s new changes affect you and your personal information. “Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash?” the ad asks. “One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.”

Behold the future of the Internet: Nothing is free anymore.

You either pay with money or you pay with personal information.

But rest assured: You pay.

Originally posted on Campaign Outsider.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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