Why are we accepting Google gathering our data?


In March 2014, ING announced it would start doing tests with customer data. The idea was that a group of customers could sign-up for an experiment. In this experiment the bank would use customer and transaction data to target advertising. According to Tros Radar about 30% of all ING-customers considered switching banks after this announcement.

A lot of these same people who considered switching banks probably have a Google account. For the sake of the argument I recently downloaded my own Google data. I had a total of 6GB of data, which included my locations of the past 8 years, conversations, photos, and many more. Google combines data that are collected by all kinds of different Google services, without adequately informing the users in advance and without asking for their consent. How is this different to what ING does? At least ING is asking explicitly for customers consent.

As Edward Snowden recently said in an interview “people who care about their privacy should stay away from popular consumer Internet services like Dropbox, Facebook, and Google”.

Regulators in six European countries, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, have opened investigations into Google after it consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one and started combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps.

According to the Dutch data protection authority, the combining of personal data by Google since the introduction of its new privacy policy on 1 March 2012 is in breach of the Dutch data protection act.

On the 30st of September a German data authority warned Google that its user profiling activities are violating Germany’s Telemedia Act & Federal Data Protection Act, owing to the lack of explicit user consent to how the data is processed. Processing data that reveals financial wealth, sexual orientation and relationship status, among other aspects of private life, is unlawful in Germany unless users give their explicit consent.

These developments show that Google shall have to change its policy somewhere in the future.

Sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/30/us-google-germany-idUSKCN0HP28Q20140930

https://www.ldi.nrw.de/LDI_EnglishCorner/mainmenu_DataProtection/Inhalt2/authorities/authorities.php

http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/01/hamburg-google/

http://www.dutchdpa.nl/Pages/pb_20131128-google-privacypolicy.aspx

http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/11/edward-snowden-new-yorker-festival/

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