I’d like to start this article with a public service announcement:
Right now, the single greatest threat to your personal privacy is Google. No matter how many “privacy tools” they create, no matter how much “control” they claim to give their users, and no matter what any of their blog posts, help pages, or policies say…YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TRUST GOOGLE WITH ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION.
If you’re still living in a world, where Google puts Users first and everything else follows, then you need to stop for a second and pull your head out of your ass. Google is on a mission to organize the World’s information and make it universally accessible–this includes your personal information. Even if it’s unintentional (like when Google Street View eavesdropped on people using wireless networks, or when Google Buzz put womens lives at risk) or unwilling (like when government officials and law enforcement request private records–sometimes without regard for proper procedure), the fact remains: Google’s mere possession of your personal information is a threat to your privacy and security.
At the end of the day, the only way you can know for sure that Google isn’t misusing your personal information…is if you never gave it to them in the first place. Google would like you to believe that they only collect the information necessary to bring you “better products and services,” but that simply isn’t true; here are two examples of search engines who truly put Users’ privacy first, by refusing to track their search activity in the first place:
New Google Profiles Drop Support for Anonymity
Now that my public service announcement is out of the way, I’d like to share some interesting information I found, relating to Google profiles. This is one more example of how Google tries to play the it benefits users card whenever it conveniently draws attention away from the fact that they’re forcing our hand. I’ll just paste the content from Google’s help page and let you draw your own conclusions. Well…except for the missing “be” at the end; I’ll point that one out for you. The rest…you’re on your own.
Profiles overview: Public profiles
The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.
Keep in mind that your full name is the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you’ll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don’t want to share.
If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will [be] deleted after July 31, 2011.