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New Google ‘Privacy’ Policy Allows More Access To Personal Information

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(credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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By Chenda Ngak

LOS ANGELES (CBS NEWS) — Google’s controversial privacy change goes into effect Thursday, and over 60 products across the Google portfolio will scrap their separate privacy policies and combine into one.

“Our privacy policies have always allowed us to combine information from different products with your account – effectively using your data to provide you with a better service,” Alma Whitten, director of privacy at Google said on the Official Google blog.

“However, we’ve been restricted in our ability to combine your YouTube and Search histories with other information in your account. Our new Privacy Policy gets rid of those inconsistencies so we can make more of your information available to you when using Google.”

Previously, Google search didn’t have access to your YouTube activity, viewing and search history. The same applied for Gmail, Google Documents and Google Voice, among several other products. Today that is no longer the case.

Privacy advocates are up in arms over the changes. According to the BBC, French watchdog Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertes (CNIL) has come out against Google, saying the they have doubts over the legality of Google’s new policy.

Google pushed back, defending its new privacy policy.

“We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

The Associated Press reports Google worked with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to ensure the legality of the policy change. Google agreed to be audited every other year on how it handles personal information and is forbidden from “misleading or deceptive privacy changes.”

Google does offer options for turning off tracking from each individual product. Here are the links for clearing Google search, YouTube history and opting out of Ads Preferences. The Google Dashboard has a record of everything Google knows about you.

According to ZDNET, “Google Apps for Government, Education or Business users would be ‘unaffected’ by the changes.”

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