What to know, and how to opt out
What impact does that have on BU’s Google apps?
One important thing that changes is that your viewing history on YouTube will now be combined with your Web Search History and the keyword analysis that Google does on the messages in your regular Gmail inbox and Google chat (and data from their other services) to provide a much more complete picture of who you are online. This does not apply to your BU Google apps. But with the other non-BU apps, information can now be shared.
Google is not collecting more information, but that information can now be shared among services. There are some good and helpful reasons to do this.
For one, it allows Google to provide much better search results, recommendations, and ads. As Google explains it, prior to the change, if a user who likes to cook searched for recipes on Google, they were not able to recommend cooking videos when that user visited YouTube—even though he or she was signed in to the same Google account when using both. Now, with the change in policy, they can.
So if the company’s not collecting more information, why are so many people concerned about the new policy?
That is a matter of how you personally view the situation. For many people, it actually came as a surprise that Google was not already doing this. They just assumed that they were. For those people, this change will not be of concern.
However, some privacy groups have pointed out that people need to be aware of what this means so that they can make informed choices. These groups are concerned that Google may be allowed to uncover information about a person that might be sensitive—for example, facts about your location, age, interests, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, etc.
The real point is to make informed choices about what you choose to put online. For example, how many times have you been asked by a bank or credit card to provide your mother’s maiden name or the name of your pet as security questions to reset a password to a website or to access information over the phone? These days, this approach offers very little protection. A person can just hop over to Facebook and usually find all that stuff out in a matter of minutes.
Another interesting site to check out is pipl.com, which is basically a search engine for people.
It makes you wonder, what is privacy really?
Very true. Humanity has always been socially driven. We love to share about ourselves and learn about others. Social websites have allowed us to do this to a degree that we have never been able to before.
But people often forget that once that information is out there, other people can find it and what they do with it can be surprising. If you want an eye-opening experience, go to a website called pleaserobme.com. This is an old-time burglar trick brought into the modern age to help raise awareness of the risks of oversharing. The information you put out on the internet is aggregated and shared and can be used by other people in ways that you may not have even dreamed.
Is there a way for people to opt out of the new policy?
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