Sunday, January 29, 2012


Google is changing their privacy policy March 2012. The version I read last night clearly stated that Google could and would use your mobile number to track your location, the time and duration of calls, and forwarding numbers. Google claims this is to enhance your google experience.

The version I read after logging into blogger today was different. Here is the bit about the phone, worded in such a way that is quite vague:

◦Log information When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include: ■details of how you used our service, such as your search queries. ■telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls. ■Internet protocol address. ■device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL. ■cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account.

I refer to "telephony log information" bullet above.

Yahoo has also changed their privacy policy.
Yahoo has changed holding your search query information from 3 months to 18 months. Non-search related information they are currently holding indefinitely:

Q: Why is Yahoo! changing its user log data retention policy?A: To meet the needs of our consumers for innovation, personalization and relevance, Yahoo! is aligning our log file data retention policy closer to the competitive norm across the industry. We will no longer apply a 90-day retention policy to raw search logs or other log file data and will instead hold raw search log files for 18 months prior to anonymization. As for non-search data, we removed the current 90-day retention period for these log files as we re-examine the right policy going forward that allows us to meet consumer demand for richer, more deeply personal experiences in our products.

I wonder how many consumers really want our privacy violated by multi million dollar corporations who assure that it is for our own enjoyment? Ha-ha.


Ian said...

I am glad that I am not the only one that is rather disturbed by this industry wide change. As for the phone data logging, this they can only do with G3 phones and G4 coming soon. As I have an old style mobile, hey I just use it to make calls, they cant track me. Also as I have never given them a mobile number, even though they have been insisting I should give them it so they can help me!!! I refuse to do so.

Its the same reason why I will never use Facebook as I am not just or only a consumer etc.

Recently the European Commission has put together proposals that will force companies to remove old data from data bases after six months, and it is highly likely to become the law in Europe. When I dont know as these things do take time, but I can see there soon being a backlash against companies that steal our data for their own use and profit.

tree ocean said...

Hi Ian, missed you! Hope you are well!

Europe apparently has much tougher privacy laws than here in the US, because one of the policies I was reading said that the company in question was "self-certified" to comply with European policies regarding privacy.