Recently we have seen attacks to our freedom and privacy online. Browsing the Internet remains as addictive, fun and educational as ever but it is hard to ignore the fact that Big Brother could be watching your every move.
Canada, the USA and the UK want to monitor the Internet more than in the past. Whilst some of the restrictions could be applauded, if they succeeded in intercepting paedophiles for example, most law abiding citizens see the possible changes as a step too far.
However apart from governments around the world spying on you online Google has changed its privacy laws. For weeks there has been a warning on Google warning of this up and coming change. Today was D Day, March 1, 2012, and the new privacy laws are in force on Google. Youtube has also made changes and it looks as if others may follow suit.
In Europe the Google privacy changes have been attacked. European data protection authorities have claimed that the changes could be unlawful. The French Data regulator wrote to Google asking that they pause the changes until their legality is assessed.Initial assessments had indicated that the changes would not meet with the EU Data protection legislation. Obviously these calls went unheeded.
So what will the Google changes mean to users?
"From today Google could build a highly-personal profile of anybody logged in to their account - although it says it will not collect information on someone's sexual orientation, religious beliefs or health status. Google will use the data to target advertising far more effectively, attracting a higher price from advertisers"
Of course in many ways we have alkl become reliant on Google and its services. Simply opting to move away from Google would not be easy. Depending on your primary use of the Internet such a change could prove to be nigh on impossible.
Sky went on to report that, "Users can restrict Google's access to their web activities by signing in to their account, going to the Web History page, clicking the "remove all Web History" button and finally confirming the opt-out.Google will still be able to collect and store information for internal purposes. After 18 months that data will be partially anonymised. The company will also still have to give up any web search data demanded by governments or law enforcement agencies through the courts. Google said the changes will allow it to provide a "seamless experience" across its services, and invited EU data protection agencies to discuss the changes"
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog