There’s bad news and worse news about Internet privacy these days.


The bad news (via the Boston Globe):


As the online search giant Google Inc. prepares to change the way it uses information about Internet users, regulators and consumer watchdogs worry that the company will compromise the privacy of millions of consumers.

On March 1, Google will alter the way it uses data it collects on Internet users to build more detailed individual profiles of many consumers.

The changes will affect only users who are signed in to a Google account, but that includes millions of consumers who use Google services such as Gmail, the video site YouTube, or smartphones running the company’s Android operating system.


Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey (D-Empty Suit) adds, “The new Google privacy policy is, you have no privacy.’’


More bad news (via the Washington Post):


State attorneys general: Google privacy changes appear to harm consumers

Dozens of state attorneys general on Wednesday wrote Google’s chief executive to express “strong concerns” that the company’s new privacy policies starting next week will violate consumer privacy.

In a letter to CEO Larry Page, the state attorneys general said the plan to begin sharing consumer data across Google’s services on March 1 “forces these consumers to allow information across all of these products to be shared, without giving them the proper ability to opt out.”


The worse news (via Bloomberg):


Privacy Group Can’t Force FTC Google Action, Judge Rules

A legal challenge to Google Inc. (GOOG)’s privacy policy was dismissed by a judge who said she lacked authority to order the Federal Trade Commission to take action against the world’s most popular search engine.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a ruling today in Washington said Congress didn’t give federal courts jurisdiction to monitor FTC enforcement of consent decrees.


The ruling did hold out some hope, though.


“[The Electronic Privacy Information Center] – along with many other individuals and organizations – has advanced serious concerns that may well be legitimate,” Jackson wrote in her ruling. “The FTC, which has advised the court that the matter is under review, may ultimately decide to institute an enforcement action.”


Hope springs eternal. But Google remains infernal.

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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