New Google Policy Reminds Us All of Trade-Off Between Privacy and Efficiency

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There has been much noise over Google’s new privacy policy, which is slated to take effect on March 1. It has been a cacophony of cheers and protestations. Some think the new policy brings clarity and transparency, while others complain it leaves consumers without control over their information. Above the hubbub, one thing is clear: at this point, users have to make a choice between new technologies and expectations of privacy.

The new policy will consolidate and streamline some 60 disparate policies of Google products and services. In the overview it has provided to users, Google says that it has tried to keep the policy as simple as possible. And it is an easy-to-read, relatively brief statement that is much more user-friendly than the agreements that we regularly click through in haste to access some enticing new service.

As a part of the new policy, Google will aggregate data it collects on users across its products (with the exception of Google Wallet and Google Books) and develop a “mega-profile” on each user. That data collection includes a user’s Google searches, Gmail messages content, YouTube favorites, and contacts. It also includes location tracking.

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