Comprehensive integration of consumer data may compromise privacy
The policy changes, scheduled to automatically take effect for all users of Google products and services on March 1, 2012, invade consumers' privacy by unilaterally allowing Google to raid information it collects when a consumer uses one Google product and share it with all other service and products offered by Google. Individuals who allow Google access to certain information as part of using one service will now, whether they want to or not, be giving Google authority to use that information for all its services and products. Users who would like to use one Google product without allowing Google to access the information provided when they use another Google service will generally not be able to do so. The new policy also potentially heightens the risk of identity theft and fraud, since Google will now be storing far more comprehensive, consolidated personal information profiles.
"I am deeply concerned about Google's effort to push a major privacy change on consumers without giving them the choice to opt in, or at a minimum the opportunity to opt out," said Attorney General Gansler. "After years of touting its commitment to meaningful privacy choices for its users, Google should abide by its claimed privacy principles and let consumers decide whether to say 'No thanks' to a new policy."
Threats to consumers' privacy go beyond the consolidation and use of personal data. Consolidated personal data profiles offer a tantalizing target for hackers and privacy thieves. As stated in the letter to Google authored by Attorney General Gansler on behalf of his Office and the other 35 signatories:
The states and territories signing on to this letter include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, N. Mariana Islands, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, and Washington.
The complete text of the State Attorneys General letter to Google Inc. can be found by visiting: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php