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Google and Privacy

Yesterday’s New York Times had an interesting article:
Google Fights for the Right to Hide Its Privacy Policy
Snippet: “What’s one way that Google is different from AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft? It’s the only one of the big Internet companies that doesn’t put a link to its privacy policy on its home page.
Indeed, Google believes so strongly that adding the phrase “privacy policy” to its famously Spartan home page would distract users that it has picked a fight with an advertising trade group over the issue.”
Interesting debate and an interesting hill to die on. I am unsure about how I feel since searching on Google does get their privacy centre as the top link but then the next three are not so great for corporate positioning at all. To wit:
“Google Privacy Center All of Google’s products and services are governed by our main privacy policy, which explains how we treat personal information. … – 9k – Cached – Similar pages
Google as Big Brother Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets … – Similar pages
Criticism of Google – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaOn 1 June Google admitted its privacy policy is vague, and that they are constantly working at making it clearer to users. [13] … – 59k – Cached – Similar pages
BBC NEWS | Technology | Google ranked ‘worst’ on privacy”
I wonder if anyone has done a comprehensive study on library privacy policies on the web and how accessible they are from main pages and beyond. Anyone? Searching pops a good ALA resource to the top and a bunch of fairly good library pages. What does your’s look like?

Posted on: May 28, 2008, 10:28 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Privacy policies are, obviously, closely related to issues of privacy and trust.
    From chapter 3 of the OCLC “Sharing…” report:
    “Privacy, Security and Trust,” we find: “64% of the total general public surveyed feel that it is extremely or very important for the library to keep a privacy policy, yet only 26% actually always or often review the library’s Web site privacy policy before using the library Web site.”
    There are a number of other stats in that chapter that might relate to how librarians use/regard privacy policies and security icons.

  2. Stephen: If Google can assert its legal terms just by publishing them, then users can assert their own privacy terms just by publishing them! What do you think? –Ben
    I think that the courts would disagree. They tend to prefer rule of law rather than a cowboy style circus. Then again, I assume you’re doing this tongue firmly in cheek.