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EU Targets Google’s Latest Privacy Policy   no comments

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Recently, there has been quite a stir over the EU’s response to Google’s most recent privacy policy…

 

From PARIS (Reuters): “Google has four months to make its privacy policy comply with requests from European Union data protection watchdogs or start facing the possibility of disciplinary action at a national level.”

France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique, working on behalf of the EU’s 27 national data regulators, said on Tuesday it had found legal flaws with a new approach to user data that Google adopted in March.

Among CNIL’s concerns was the way the U.S. group combines anonymous data from users’ browsing histories across its services to better target advertising.

From theguardian:  “Google’s latest privacy policy means that users get a simpler experience when signing up for a new Google-owned service. But it also means that Google can build up a more comprehensive picture of the user for advertising – for example, monitoring a person’s use of YouTube to help better target adverts within Gmail.”

 

I find it interesting that the EU’s various sanctioning bodies have an issue with this.  What do they think Google is going to do with the information?  Seriously!?  Google is in business to make money.  They make money by helping advertisers get in front of people who are most likely to purchase their products and services.  Let me give a perfect example – Let’s say that a feminine hygiene advertisement is placed in front of male audience members. I dare say, that is a waste of the advertisers’ money because odds are probably REALLY good that there isn’t a single purchaser in the group.

Another example: I watch YouTube all the time.  99.8% of my YouTube views are music.  Actually, I can’t imagine life without YouTube – but that’s another blog.  In the past year alone, I’ve probably watched in the neighborhood of 2,500 music videos – and once, ONCE, was an advertisement placed in front of me that I was interested in.  I actually sat there and watched the advertisement because it was something I was interested in.  That means the other 2499 times that ads were placed in front of me were a total waste.  From both efficiency and user-experience standpoints, wouldn’t it be better if YouTube, Google, or whoever is displaying the content, knew something about the viewer’s likes, dislikes, sites visited, etc.?  It irks me a little bit that I have to wait the 5 seconds before I can click on the “Skip Ad” button.  I’d much rather see an advertisement that actually interests me.

In other words, by being able to target your viewer, as Google is allegedly doing, it serves both the advertiser as well as the viewer.  My question is: Why does the EU want to make it harder on advertisers (businesses within the European Union) and the citizens of the European Union?  Ah, government regulatory bodies at their finest, once again. Apparently the EU wants advertisers to pay for ads that get displayed in front of randomly selected people who might not have any interest at all in the product or service being touted, rather than be able to target their ads to those who have shown some type of behavior that identifies them as a potential buyer.  Also, why should anyone have to sit through an ad that they have no interest in?

Now, I do agree that people should have the ability to opt out of certain things like email, but isn’t what Google is doing beneficial for everyone?

If I were an advertiser and it was costing me X dollars each time my ad was presented, I would want to be darn sure that my ad was being placed in front of people who are most likely to take advantage of what I’m offering.

I’d be interested in hearing other views on whether Google, who is allegedly doing what the regulatory bodies claim, is right or wrong.  Perhaps you are indifferent? How do you feel about the use of this alleged data?

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Written by Dave on October 18th, 2012

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