Lots of Google News going on today, especially when you talk about user data and privacy.
It all started with this post here, A Race to the Bottom:
Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies In which Privacy International says that Google is at the bottom of all the companies they “researched” and even though some companies come close, none are a endemic threat to privacy like Google is. Here is the conclusion of the report:
While there may be a temptation to focus criticism on Google’s privacy performance, it is important to note that not one of the ranked organizations achieved a “green” status. Overall, the privacy standard of the key Internet players is appalling, with some companies demonstrating either willful or a mindless disregard for the privacy rights of their customers. Even the better performing companies create lapses of privacy that are avoidable. With minimal effort most organizations can improve their privacy performance by at least one grade.
The current frenzy to “capture” ad space revenue through the exploitation of new technologies and tools will result in one of the greatest privacy challenges in recent decades. The Internet appears to be shifting as a whole toward this aim, and the opportunity to create market differentiators based on responsible privacy may diminish unless those avenues are explored immediately. We have been impressed by the good work being achieved by some sites, but consumers are right to feel aggrieved when companies fail to adopt the best privacy tools that are available.
On the basis of the evidence we have seen from this study, there is no excuse for any organization to ignore the opportunity to create strong privacy protections. The technologies are available, the expertise is abundant, and the market appears willing to favor sites that treat their customers with respect. We hope that the 2008 rankings will reflect this potential.
Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land has the best coverage, so far, of the report in this post, Google Bad On Privacy? Maybe It’s Privacy International’s Report That Sucks, in which he goes step by step down the report to show that Google is at least as good as most of the ones they ranked higher than them, but, even so, Google has the most data on all users, and poses the biggest threat to users should the data get out.
Google Rated Bottom For Privacy Techcrunch coverage.
Google slammed in privacy report? Robert Scoble chimes in here, and says Google?s PR department needs to chime in and get their word out. Google’s main problem is lack of communication with it’s users, and this will be one of those cases.
Why I disagree with Privacy International from Matt Cutts. He says, and rightly so, that many companies gave user queries to the government, leaked millions of user queries or routinely sell user queries and they came off better in the report than Google did.
Google is WRONG On Consumer Privacy says Donna Bogatin, she says Google doesn’t even know where all of the user data is, let alone be able to anonymize it. Peter Fleischer, Google’s privacy point man, says, ?It?s actually very hard to answer the apparently simple question: ?where?s my data? You can?t pin-point the location of the clouds.?