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Google under fire – from the EU and FTC

Oct 16, 2012 by Martin Kuppinger

Yesterday there were two interesting news items about Google. A document issued by 24 of the 27 European Data Protection Councils requests Google to change their privacy policies. They claim that collection of personal data to such an extent as Google does is considered a massive risk for the privacy of users. I can agree. The Councils however don’t consider the policies as illegal, at least not yet. That might change with the upcoming new EU data protection rules in 2014. Nevertheless they request Google to better inform users about the use of their personal data.

I personally think that even that step might be helpful. From my perspective too many users just haven’t understood that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you don’t pay with money, you have to pay in another currency. And the currency of Google is “privacy” or “personal data”.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. At least Google is facing some pressure from the EU now – and this most likely hasn’t been the last word in that issue.

The second issue Google is facing is about abusing its dominance of Internet search in violation of antitrust laws. An internal draft memo recommends suing Google for that. Again, it will be interesting to observe what happens here next.

Overall, it wasn’t a good day for Google yesterday.

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Martin Kuppinger
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User Empowerment / Life Management
For most organizations, supporting user empowerment means simplified access to information and less friction by privacy discussions. Yes, the users can revoke access – but companies also might build far better relationships with customers and thus minimize that risk. There are compelling business cases today. And, in contrast to 2012, the world appears being ready for solutions that force user empowerment.
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