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Facebook and Google ignite data privacy concerns

26 Jan 2012 11:19 GMT Back
Facebook and Google ignite data privacy concerns
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Plans by Google and Facebook to rev up the way they gather data on users have angered consumers.

This comes as the European Commission publishes a draft data protection bill, designed to guide organisations in how they gather, store and use consumer data.

Google will start sharing user information across its websites and services. Under its new privacy policy, which is due to roll out on 1 March, Google will combine the information it collects about people who use all its sites and services into a single profile. 

The internet giant is informing people of this change through email and on its homepage. 

Google’s attempt to simplify its privacy policy by combining its 70 different licence agreements into a single, shorter statement has received praise from an unlikely source. 

Vivienne Reding, European Commissioner of Justice said: “Google made the first in the step of more privacy rules. I can only applaud more companies to try to move in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, Facebook will switch all its 800 million users to its Timeline over the coming weeks. 

Timeline will replace people’s profile, displaying in chronological order users’ status updates, activities and stories. 

Facebook has given users seven days to review everything that appears on their Timeline before anyone else can see it. A Facebook blog  explains how to hide events or status updates from your Timeline. 

“Facebook works the way it always has,” said spokesperson, Meredith Chin, in a USA Today report. “There is no new information on Facebook as a result of Timeline, and no privacy settings have been changed with the introduction of it. It’s simply an updated version of the profile.”

Sarah Downey, a privacy analyst and software maker Abine isn’t convinced. In the same USA Today report, she says: “It’s dangerous for two companies to have so much personal data, regardless of whether the specific threats of that data consolidation are immediately clear.”

Posted by

Smarayda Christoforou


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