Google: Ask Fairly About Our Privacy
Stop Big Google and Big Government from becoming Big Brother.
This petition's request to Google appears in the final sentence of this document.
As background, please watch the video above (made by a Google employee) to understand how little the average user of Google understands about the Internet. Most people believe that a browser is a search engine!
Google understands the low level of sophistication of most users of the Internet. What chance do they have against Google's plans to railroad them into "accepting" this?
Google plans to railroad us into allowing Google to track and store all our activities across all of its services that we use, combining all that data into one massive "file" on each of us. We cannot stop them from changing the terms of their policy, but we can influence them to inform fully and ask fairly.
This policy starts on March 1, 2012, so this is URGENT. Once started, it cannot be reversed.
Up to now, people don't really understand how much information they are letting Google have on each service, separately. They should, but who actually reads those long, complicated agreements before they click "I agree"?
What is new? You will now be allowing Google to assemble all that information across virtually all of its services that you use. That includes tracking what you do and say on such services as...
- Google Search (all your searches and clicks are tracked)
- Google's Chrome browser (consider all that you do on their browser)
- Mobile phones (have an Android phone or other device?)
- Image Search (all your searches and clicks are tracked)
- News (what stories you click on)
- Google apps
- YouTube (all your searches and clicks are tracked)
- Docs (all the content)
- Groups (your discussions)
- AdSense (how much you earn)
- Google+ (similar to Facebook, largely public)
- Gmail (yes, all the contents of your e-mail, too)
- and on and on and on.
Basically, Google's policy is this...
That is railroading. It takes advantage of "default behavior" and low user comprehension to slide our surrender of privacy past us again.
Major media have covered this story...
Maybe we can, all together.
Here's the thing...
Legally, Google can try to do this. It does need some kind of agreement by you, since the change is not trivial. So they are making your continued use of their services amount to such an agreement...
"You can opt-out by not logging in to ANY of our services."
As soon as you login and use one service, you agree to give all your information on all the services you use, including all information from the past.
As long as you truly, fully understand that, it's your choice.But Google's permission-getting approach amounts to pulling the wool over our eyes.
Users will not understand it, nor will they realize the risks. Google knows that we will just slip into the new policy without giving it any thought.
Here is their announcement. It sounds benign. But their information is one-sidedly positive ("better products, better ads") and they don't mention the downsides. They know you won't read the fine print of the actual agreement, and if you do that you'll miss the "GOTCHAs"...
For example, they don't mention that (according to Simon Black of Sovereignman)...
"In the first half of 2011, the US government requested information on over 11,000 Google accounts. Google complied with a full 93% of those requests. Your account might have been one of them, and you would never know."
The numbers go up every quarter, too. Given goverment's increasing intrusion into our private lives and curtailment of liberties, we face an unpleasant equation...
BIG GOOGLE + BIG GOVERNMENT = BIG BROTHER 1984
Much of it may highly sensitve information for which you have a far greater expectation than anything you may post to Facebook. And yet, Google does not even alert you to a request for your information.
Did you catch that particular hiccup in the fine print of their agreement? It's there. And there are others. Most people, though, won't get past their "sales copy" and click to read the actual agreement, despite its importance.
[ADDENDUM: After writing this petition, we wrote about 5 GOTCHAS...
Stop and think about every service by Google that you use and all the information about you that you generate while using their services...
It's all available for the asking by government and it does not seem that Google fights hard for us, not with a 93% rate of surrender.
Since then, they censor my replies, so I have posted follow-up replies here.
Yes... Google, the company that fought SOPA due to its inherent censorship, is now suppressing dissent.
So I'm bringing this to change.org, where they cannot censor any of us.
Here is the bottom line of this petition...
Google's services are not "free." You pay for them by giving Google everything you say and do while using their services.
NOW is the chance to press "RESET" on privacy. Let's start all over...
Google must FULLY INFORM and ASK FAIRLY.
Google owes every user of its services a fully informed opt-in opportunity (including potential downsides that are explained as clearly as the upsides)...
1) The first time a user logs into any Google service after this policy comes into effect, Google must offer this fairly worded opt-in to have all their information tracked.
2) They must offer it at every Google service that each person uses, so people fully understand that all information across all opted-in services is being tracked and pulled together.
Google may make it clear, of course, that the user cannot have access to the particular service if s/he refuses, or even all of its services (which is what the new policy proposes). Those policies, and their consequences, are Google's own business choice.
But Google must ask while informing fully and fairly. As long as people understand exactly what they give up in order to get Google's free services and as long as they understand the risks, this is a free world.
Why won't Google ask fairly? Because many people, if they fully understood the upsides and the downsides, might decide not to use Google's services.
Listing all the GOTCHAs would be bad for business. So Google would be forced to re-work its policy to afford us all greater protection. For example...
1) Google should defend us against requests for information.
2) Google should alert us to those requests.
3) Google should delete information within 3 months, sufficient time to assimilate our data in their algorithms.
Those simple changes would remove most of our risk.
Google is just the beginning. This unique window of opportunity, during which Google requires us to "re-consent" (however misleading their process), closes on March 1, at which time the Policy comes into effect.
Ultimately, full disclosure should be required of all companies. A successful campaign now would ripple and and companies with competing products or services would compete not just on features, but on how well they protect our privacy.
Please "sign" this petition. Doing so not only adds your support to this cause, it sends an e-mail to Google, the FTC, Congressmen, and the European Commission.
Finally, please share this petition with all your friends (through Facebook, e-mail, chat, etc.), asking them to sign, too. The "social web" is a powerful way to make the voice of the average individual heard.
By working together, we can influence the mighty to turn wrong into right. Here is what this petition asks of Google...
Delay your implementation date of March 1st, 2012 in order to institute a fair and fully informed opt-in process to get our permission to track, store, combine and protect all data generated by each user of your services, as outlined herein, for the reasons herein.
- Communication Director for Cliff Stearns
- Public Relations
- Spokesperson, European Commission
- Communication Director for Douglas Gansler
- Communication Director for G.K. Butterfield
- Communication Director for Mary Bono Mack
- Federal Trade Commission - Office of Public Affairs
Claudia Bourne Farrell
- Communication Director for Henry Waxman
- Communication Director for Edward Markey
- Communication Director for Joe Barton
- Investor Relations, Google Inc.
I have just signed a petition for Google to do the following...
"Delay your implementation date of March 1st, 2012 in order to institute a FAIR AND FULLY INFORMED OPT-IN PROCESS to get our permission to track, store, combine and protect all data generated by each user of your services, as outlined herein, for the reasons herein."
I support the principles and rationale of this request, all of which you can find at...
Google, please hear my voice and implement this.
To the EC, FTC and US Congress persons included on the recipient list of this e-mail...
firstname.lastname@example.org (Willa Lo, Investor Relations, Google Inc.)
email@example.com (Public Relations, Google Inc.)
Matthew.Newman@ec.europa.eu (European Commission)
Paul.Flusche@mail.house.gov (Cliff Stearns - Rep)
Sean.Brown@mail.house.gov (Joe Barton - Rep)
Giselle.Barry@mail.house.gov (Edward Markey - Dem)
Karen.Lightfoot@mail.house.gov (Henry Waxman - Dem)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Claudia Bourne Farrell - Federal Trade Commission - Office of Public Affairs)
Jill.Shatzen@mail.house.gov (Mary Bono Mack-Rep)
Kim.Atterbury@mail.house.gov (G.K. Butterfield-Dem)
email@example.com (Douglas Gansler - Maryland Attorney General)
Please work with Google towards this end.
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