National Association of Attorneys General

National Association of Attorneys General National Association of Attorneys General

Attorneys General Express Concerns Over Google's Privacy Policy

Washington, DC—The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) sent a letter today signed by 36 state and territorial Attorneys General to Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page expressing concern over Google’s new privacy policy, which allows for greater information sharing between its products without providing consumers an “opt- in” option, and failing to provide meaningful “opt-out” options as well. The policy is scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2012.

The NAAG letter reads, “Google’s new privacy policy is troubling for a number of reasons. On a fundamental level, the policy appears to invade consumer privacy by automatically sharing personal information consumers input into one Google product with all Google products. Consumers have diverse interests and concerns, and may want the information in their Web History to be kept separate from the information they exchange via Gmail. Likewise, consumers may be comfortable with Google knowing their Search queries but not with it knowing their whereabouts, yet the new privacy policy appears to give them no choice in the matter, further invading their privacy. It rings hollow to call their ability to exit the Google products ecosystem a “choice” in an Internet economy where the clear majority of all Internet users use – and frequently rely on – at least one Google product on a regular basis.”

Currently, users of Google’s many products use them in different ways, expecting that information they provide for one product, such as YouTube, would not be synthesized with information they provide for another product, such as Gmail or Maps. The new policy forces consumers to allow information across all of Google’s products to be shared without giving them the proper ability to opt out.

The Attorneys General have requested a meeting with Mr. Page as soon as possible. A copy of the NAAG letter can be found here:

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Tim Fox, the Montana attorney general, has worked in public service since 1990.