Google contends the move simplifies and unifies its policies across its various services such as Gmail, YouTube, Android mobile systems, social networks and Internet search. “The new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how personal information is shared outside of Google,” Google privacy chief Alma Whitten said on Thursday.
But critics including European privacy agencies and US consumer watchdogs argued the new policy, which offers no ability to opt out aside from refraining from signing into Google services, gives the Internet giant unprecedented ability to monitor its users. And some say it violates EU privacy protections.
A coalition of European and US consumer advocacy groups in a joint letter to Google chief executive Larry Page urged them to delay changes, saying it would “combine data from all services … into a single profile without user consent and without an opportunity to opt-out .”