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Google responds to Congress’s concern over new privacy policy

Dan Graziano
January 31st, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Google on Monday announced that the company would combine individual privacy policies from a variety of its products into one main policy. Critics of the change were worried that Google was now collecting more data than before, and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded answers. The Mountain View-based company has now responded to Congress and defended its decision to change the policy. Read on for more.

In a 13-page letter to several members of Congress, Google answered the lawmakers’ questions and addressed concerns. “Last week we heard from members of Congress about Google’s plans to update our privacy policies by consolidating them into a single document on March 1,” Google’s director of public policy Pablo Chavez wrote on the company’s blog. “Protecting people’s privacy is something we think about all day across the company, and we welcome discussions about our approach. We hope this letter, in which we respond to the members’ questions, clears up the confusion about these changes.”

Google maintains that while the policy will be changed, users will continue to have custom controls over what Google can and can’t do. According to the company, Google collects three types of data from users: log data, account data, and service data. Log data is anonymous and consists of a computer’s interaction with Google’s services. Account data is all the user information stored for each individual, and service data is information that relates to a particular product, such as Google Maps, however it is “not necessarily associated with any users.”

UPDATE: Google reached out to us with a statement and informed us that the company is not collecting any new or additional data.

“We’re not collecting any new or additional data about users. Our updated privacy policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve our users’ experiences on Google – whichever services they use. This is something we have already done for a long time for many of our products.”


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