This is a good-to-know post about smartphone safety. I have been posting stuff about protecting your smartphone from online criminals, malicious apps, and intrusive Internet companies (ie. Google) that leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
But you also need to be careful not to get victimized by criminals who are disgusting enough to physically snatch your phone from you in broad daylight. Protect your property and know where all the threats are coming from. If you know better you do better.
The privacy commissioners from all the member states have great doubt about the security of people’s personal data in the hands of Google. The company is collecting more data about its users than ever before by combining personal information from all its products and services. This will make it easier for Google to figure you out and ultimately, among other things, sell that information to advertisers for huge profits.
“…combining personal information from across different services has the potential to significantly impact on the privacy of individuals. The group is also concerned that, in condensing and simplifying the privacy policies, important details may have been lost.”
The APPA wants Google to make it easier for users to find out what personal information the company has of them and they want all personal information to be available to users. Everything Google knows about you should be made aware to you and you then should be allowed to permanently delete it if you so choose. The APPA is also concerned about the risk Google is putting vulnerable minority groups through by collecting sensitive data about them. Google has the potential to collect information about your age, address, name, sexual orientation, religion, politics, race, etc. The company knows too much and this is troubling.
The letter from the APPA to Google was signed by Timothy Pilgrim, the Australian Privacy Commissioner. A day after the letter was sent, Google responded to it. However, it did nothing to ease concerns and New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner, Marie Shroff, was annoyed that Google neglected to offer complete answers. This criticism is similar to what a US congresswoman, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, said about Google after she grilled two company executives at a congressional committee hearing last month. The congresswoman said that Google was not “forthcoming” with answers and that she was left with even more concerns. Obviously, Google has a problem telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
To read the APPA’s full letter to Google – click here
For more information:
Stuff.co.nz, “Heat turned up on search giant” – click here