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Has Google made a serious miss-step over privacy?

If you haven't seen the original chrome user agreement and didn't know the background political maneuvers on internet privacy you might not be aware of the relevance that it has to the tech giants. Goo(gle) and Y(ah)oo are meshing their advertising machines and Goo is gearing up to provide advertisers with more data than they could have dreamed of getting a decade ago.

Not everyone thinks that's agood idea, the Goo+Yoo thing or even the MS+Yoo thing, especially if they're all relying on tracking and selling our data, thoughts, habits, interests etc, to drive their earnings.

Once it comes together it'll be very hard to dismantle that behemoth behavioural marketing machine and once the data is out there it's just not coming back.

That little clause 11.1 was a killer and certainly not the 'killer application' the consumer has been waiting for - all it does is kill privacy.

If for a minute they expect a professional to believe they 'didn't mean it' and it 'was an accident' then there should be some questions being asked in more than one board room. Is someone either asleep at the wheel or else fibbing?

There are at least some legislators ready to draw the line on both sides of the Atlantic.

Perhaps this little indiscretion will prompt others to cast new light on the direction of the internet. Whilst some don't track at all, there have been denials from some search providers over whether they can actually track individual users, and those denials appear to have been undermined using their very engines, and there may be more surprises to come. I like some of the sites the google guys visit.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against a little contextual advertising, and I love googling too, but I think the risks of where we could be heading is worth consideration and discussion. Sooner rather than later. Ultimately it'll impact on everything from free choice to free speech.

Update

Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said "numerous advertisers have recognized that this agreement will help them better match their ads to users' interests".

The U.S. Association of National Advertisers apparently agrees that it'll impact on their free choice and have issued a statement opposing the partnership on the grounds that GooYoo "will likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high quality, affordable search advertising," the statement said.

GooYoo would effectively control 90% of search and online advertising.

Could we see "if you don't accept our ads we won't index you in our search engine?"

Have I noticed a drop in search results for myself? Are they being shuffled around in the results - I'll let you know.

ps. I know that I mispelled mis-step, but google miss(ed) privacy altogether in their new business plan. I really can't see a company with a business plan based on spyware and destroying privacy as being either a wise or an ethical investment.

Privacy gone?
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