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Privacy — not that far off from piracy? Google CEO does a good juggling act

A lot has been said recently about Google’s privacy policy, after the internet giant was told by French-based Commission Nationale de l’Informatique (CNIL) that it is not being clear about information of users private data and how it is being stored or used.

After initial questionnaires from CNIL, which it says were not appropriately answered by Google, an additional questionnaire were sent. Speaking at Google’s annual Zeitgeist conference in Paradise Valley for his first public speaking in many months, CEO Larry Page touched on the antitrust probes, but again did not seem to relate any major clarification on its new policy. It seems a lot like “avoiding the issues” is on the cards here.

Page made several comments about the probes conducted by EU and US antitrust agencies into whether Google could be driving more traffic to its own services through the gathering of user information. Because, as most business owners will tell you, selling makes the world go round. At the same time individual user’s information could be used to deliver relevant adverts to the specific user, or even associates and friends. The CNIL’s argument is that Google has not completely clarified these practices.

Google has been told by EU regulators to make even more changes to its overhauled privacy policy, as according to Mr Page, “Google Now”, an Android service, “wasn’t allowed by our previous privacy policy. Requiring companies like Google to lock down information is something I worry about [because] we don’t actually know how the Internet is going to work 10 years from now,” Page said.

He also said that “hopefully” Google will be able to “work well” with antitrust regulators to resolve the privacy issues, adding that “I do think over-regulation of the internet and restriction of what people can do is a big risk for us”. Hmmm… that’s something that can be interpreted in many ways.

Author | Stephan Lourens

Stephan Lourens
Born 20 years too early. Curses sometimes. Thinks too much. Believes plug-and-play is the best invention ever. If asked what he wants for his birthday he will say a gadget, then money. So he can go buy a gadget. More

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