John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

FTC Chairman: New Google Privacy Plan Forces Consumers to Make a “Brutal Choice”

It’s just a few days now until Google’s new privacy policy goes into effect. And lawmakers and regulators continue to raise eyebrows over the agreement, which will grant the company greater license to share user account information between a number of services. The latest to do so: Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

Asked about Google’s new policy, which goes into effect on March 1, during an episode of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Leibowitz offered this assessment:

“It’s a fairly binary and somewhat brutal choice that they are giving consumers. I think I can’t say much more. But we’re aware.”

A brutal choice.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of these new privacy settings that Google contends are in everyone’s best interests.

And while Leibowitz concedes that Google is offering consumers a clear disclosure on its plans, his characterization of it suggests some discomfort with its implementation.

That’s something that concerns others, as well. Last week, an alliance of 36 state attorneys general sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, demanding assurances that the policy doesn’t jeopardize consumer privacy. Prior to that, some House lawmakers criticized the company for failing to answer some important questions about how easy or difficult it is for users to protect their privacy and control how their personal information is shared across Google’s services.

“Our updated Privacy Policy will make our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users,” Google said in a statement to AllThingsD. “We’ve undertaken the most extensive notification effort in Google’s history, and we’re continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services.The privacy policy change mainly affects users with a Google Account, and you can continue to use many of our services — including Search, Maps and YouTube — when you are logged out.”

Here’s the video of Leibowitz’s appearance in full:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus