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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Attorneys General Challenge Google on New Privacy Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :   Wednesday, February 22, 2012   
CONTACT:   Sara Rabern,  (605) 773-3215


Attorneys General Challenge Google on New Privacy Policy


PIERRE, S.D.   In a letter to Google Chief Executive Larry Page, Attorney General Marty Jackley, joined by 35 Attorneys General from across the United States, outlined multiple concerns with recently announced changes to Google’s Privacy Policy that is scheduled to automatically go into effect for all users of Google products and services on March 1, 2012. This policy change threatens the privacy of those users of various Google products who wish to keep various parts of their online experience private. The potential risk of identity theft and fraud increases with this additional storage of personal identifying information.

Under the new privacy policy, Google gives itself the freedom to combine users’ personal information from services like Web History and YouTube with all other Google Products, and precludes existing users from opting out of this policy change without opting out of the Google ecosystem entirely. 

The ramifications of the new privacy policy will be virtually impossible to avoid for millions of consumers who already use Android-powered smartphones, currently estimated to be 50 percent of the national smartphone market.  Users of these smartphones must log in to Google to activate much of the functionality of their devices.  They would now have to choose between either frequently logging in and out to avoid Google’s consolidation of their data, thus greatly reducing the efficiency of their smartphones, or replacing their smartphones at great personal expense.

The Attorneys General recognize there may be many consumers who will welcome the consolidation and sharing of their personal information and data across multiple platforms.  Unfortunately, many more consumers will either dislike the consolidation or not realize the potential harm that comes from it. Consumers deserve a full accounting of how this new privacy policy may impact them, and a meaningful opportunity to avoid being subjected to it.

Given the serious concerns expressed on behalf of those consumers, the Attorneys General have requested a meeting with Google Inc. CEO Larry Page as soon as possible. Mr. Page has been asked to reply no later than Wednesday, February 29.

The Attorneys General letter to Google Inc. can be found here.