Google trying to take privacy seriously

This week was a very interesting week as far as Google and privacy goes. First, a burglary (the same on that affected CNET earlier last month) was confirmed to have affected all Google employees hired before December 31, 2005. There’s nothing Google could have done about it, but it’s definitely a blow for those involved. Employee records contain everything from names to social security numbers, and unfortunately, Google’s were stored unencrypted on the stolen computers. Google has offered to cover the cost for a one year subscription to a credit monitoring service.

On top of this problem, Google was ordered by a judge to hand over terabytes of YouTube logs to Viacom in the lawsuit against Google. Even though this is clearly something that affects the privacy of anyone that has ever used YouTube, it gets worse.

Most people would consider the disclosure of which IP addresses watched which videos a privacy nightmare, and I’m sure that would be the grounds Google will likely try to oppose the decision on. Unfortunately, Google’s own words on their Public Policy blog were referenced in the judges order to hand over data.

“the IP addresses recorded by every website on the planet without additional information should not be considered personal data, because these websites usually cannot identify the human beings behind these number strings.” — Google Privacy Policy Blog

I’m pretty sure there is a big shoe sticking out of their mouth right about now.

The most recent Google/privacy related news was that Google put a link to their privacy policy directly on their homepage — it used to be that you needed to dig around to find it. I’m glad Google did that, but does it really deserve this gigantic explanation on the Official Google Blog, especially since they were likely pressured into it anyway?

What do you think about the most recent privacy related issues coming out of Google in the last week?

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