Local
8:00 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Attorneys General Fight Google Privacy Policy

Some 36 state attorneys general are asking to sit down with the head of Google to discuss an imminent change in the Internet behemoth's privacy policy. Among them is Pennsylvania's attorney general, who feels the new policy could actually threaten users' privacy.

Google has been touting its new privacy policy with emails to registered users and notices on all of its websites. The change would be an automatic merging of personal information held by services like YouTube and all other Google products.

"Anything that can be done from a prevention point of view is much better than trying to plug a hole or deal with privacy breaches or deal with other large scale problems after the fact. By then, the damage is done, information's compromised, and people are left to pick up the pieces," said Pennsylvania State Attorney General spokesman Nils Frederiksen.

Users would not be able to exempt themselves from the new privacy policy without making a clean break from all Google products. People who use Android-powered smart phones would find it virtually impossible to use their phones without also using Google services.

"Certainly, Google might have interest in consolidating things and offering some consumers the ability to have their information shared across these different platforms. In fact, some consumers may want it. The issue isn't necessarily that," said Frederiksen. "The issue is that consumers aren't being given the option of opting out."

A total of 36 attorneys general signed the letter to the company, requesting a response by Wednesday.