Monday, March 5, 2012

Google's Privacy Policy

Dear Madame L,

Is there anything I can do now to protect my online privacy?


Not Paranoid, But, Yeah, Concerned

Dear Not Paranoid

Yes, there are still things you can do to protect yourself from Google's relentless acquisition of your personal history. 

First, Madame L suggests that you read this article on the Internet giant's privacy policy and what you can do.

According to that article, the new policy makes it clear that Google can and will "combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience."

Like you, Madame L isn't as interested in having a "simpler, more intuitive Google experience" as the people at Google think she is. While Google is famous for its motto, "Don't be evil," Madame L understands that its underlying business philosophy makes her, and all of you, Dear Readers, no more than valuable objects in a series of financial transactions. We are not in any way "customers." We are products that Google sells to its advertisers.

So, follow the advice in that article. In addition, here are Madame L's own tricks:

---When you sign in to any Google application, make sure to un-click the "Stay Signed In" box.

---Never stay signed in to any Google application while you're doing anything else on your computer.

---Set your computer to automatically empty its history folder every time you turn it off.

---Check at Google's own website for more information. You can read Google's own description of its privacy policy online. 

---When you get one of those notices---you know the ones Madame L is talking about---they begin, "Hey, this is important!"---like they think you're a moron---that you need to provide Google with your photo, address, phone number, or alternate e-mail address, don't do it.

---Develop your own system for remembering or noting somewhere your passwords, etc., so you won't have to worry about Google's ever-so-kindly-warnings about the dire consequences of losing your password or whatever.

Other Dear Readers, please chime in with your suggestions.


Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

I used to think that Google's motto was "Don't DO evil." Now I wonder if they changed it to be more ambiguous...
You know: "Plausible deniability, Mr. President!"