Privacy - Give it Up

7 comments

It would be great if we could open this debate to discuss what privacy standards we demand all internet companies adhere to.

In my Utopian world search engines would treat user privacy as the default standard, not an opt out. For instance, you should have to turn Google's personalized web search on instead of off.

What would you do if you were the Privacy Czar of a SE?

Comments

For instance, you should

For instance, you should have to turn Google's personalized web search on instead of off.

Agree on that one. Even as a techie - it took me reading Danny's article to learn how to stop Google collecting my searches.. Nice opt-in. As Danny points out in that article, this needs to be much clearer or opt-in.

Mayer said Google might consider making Gmail a special case where signing out there doesn't sign you out of Google Accounts system wide.

Hmmm, great idea. And in the comments there:

Personalization has been inevitable, and it will absolutely improve the user experience. And for the vast majority of users, they'll never know it's happening.

I agree, most people will never know. Once they do understand it though expect to see more resistance.

When I worked in IT Support, I shocked more than a few people by showing them their web history. They soon learn to religiously delete the data from their browser (in fact that is their very next question to you).

If they don't like the idea of their employer snooping on this activity, why would they roll over for Google?

As a Privacy Czar I might go completely left field and tell people we aren't doing personalisation of the results or collecting their web history - and more importantly why.

Quote: Personalization has

Quote:
Personalization has been inevitable, and it will absolutely improve the user experience. And for the vast majority of users, they'll never know it's happening.

There is no solid data to back up that claim. From an engineering perspective you can certainly deliver a more targeted result but that is no guarantee of a better user experience. The user may just be scared out of his seat if it gets too "good".

The road is littered with engineering driven products that never gained market acceptance.

If anything from google merited a beta tag, the "we know you" product is it.

Quote: What would you do if

Quote:
What would you do if you were the Privacy Czar of a SE?

I'd try to find ways of getting private information from as many of my users as possible to use for my company's benefit so it makes more money. I'd be bending the law as far as I could to do it.

Then, I'd have a brilliant PR team talking up how much my company actually cares about the privacy of personal information, and what we are doing to safeguard our users.

The fact of the matter is, it is not in the best interest of a search engine to give a damn about user privacy. It is in the best interest of a SE engine to *say* they care about user privacy.

For a search engine, or any other marketing channel, it is in their best interest to find out everything they can about their users so they can cater to them...exactly what Google is doing.

The fact of the matter is,

The fact of the matter is, it is not in the best interest of a search engine to give a damn about user privacy. It is in the best interest of a SE engine to *say* they care about user privacy.

Yep, Heather is spot on with her answer

I agree

"For a search engine, or any other marketing channel, it is in their best interest to find out everything they can about their users so they can cater to them...exactly what Google is doing."

So what the issue, or is it just they have more data than we do.

DaveN

Information is power

Lots of information is lots of power.

Quote: So what the issue, or

Quote:
So what the issue, or is it just they have more data than we do.

The issue is how they are marrying disparate data sources to make a dossier on you.

Reach a site with Adsense? They know. A site with google analytics? They know. Throw in Desktop, email, blogs, and whatever else they have and it is a very comprehensive profile on your behavior.

If the data collection were limited to your activities on Google Search, this would be a non-issue.

Now throw in Double click which has enough reach to capture your activities almost anywhere and they know a lot about you and you didn't give permission, you simply visited a site in the DC network.

I think the big issue is really DISCLOSURE. Some may not care about their data privacy, others will and for the sake of those who actually care there needs to be some protections, at least a knowledge of what the plex is up to in regards to its dossier on you and how it is assembled.

The big smokescreen here is they are leaning on "better user experience". Prove that first.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.