Dear Google

Google.com has added its privacy policy to the main page to conform with California law. Here is a question to the masters of the algorithm that I sent to their query system ”

Dear Google ,

I understand that IP Addresses are stored routinely by you, that these IP addresses can be used as unique keys for analytical purposes, but also be used for identifying and locating privacy of people (like in China) with disproportionate technical effort. Why don’t you run a randomizing algorithm that masks the IP addresses but keeps the uniqueness factor alive, and delete the original IP addresses, thus sparing yourself any privacy concerns. The algorithm should be made in a manner that any masked unique  IP number cannot be unmasked , and all same IP addresses have same masked IP addresses.You retain analytical value, consumers retain privacy and we settle this debate once and for all.”
This is in response to its slightly biased privacy policy whose fine print is here ”

http://www.google.co.in/intl/en/privacypolicy.html

Data integrity

Google processes personal information only for the purposes for which it was collected and in accordance with this Policy or any applicable service-specific privacy notice. We review our data collection, storage and processing practices to ensure that we only collect, store and process the personal information needed to provide or improve our services. We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we process is accurate, complete, and current, but we depend on our users to update or correct their personal information whenever necessary.

Accessing and updating personal information

When you use Google services, we make good faith efforts to provide you with access to your personal information and either to correct this data if it is inaccurate or to delete such data at your request if it is not otherwise required to be retained by law or for legitimate business purposes. We ask individual users to identify themselves and the information requested to be accessed, corrected or removed before processing such requests, and we may decline to process requests that are unreasonably repetitive or systematic,  require disproportionate technical effort , jeopardize the privacy of others, or would be extremely impractical (for instance, requests concerning information residing on backup tapes), or for which access is not otherwise required. In any case where we provide information access and correction, we perform this service free of charge, except if doing so would require a disproportionate effort. Some of our services have different procedures to access, correct or delete users’ personal information. We provide the details for these procedures in the specific privacy notices or FAQs for these services.”

This leaves enough loopholes for Google to pick and choose its privacy policy AND its response. Nice spin, but people understanding law, public relations, databases AND algorithms do exist in the non Google world. The New York Times blog “Bits”: is at the forefront. And its a very good blog for all tech news besides the renowned mashable (www.mashable.com) and Silicon Valley Insider (www.alleyinsider.com)

Watch this space.

Author: Ajay Ohri

http://about.me/ajayohri

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