Google introduces privacy changes (cue the backlash)
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Facebook will make its Messenger app mandatory for mobile chat (+video)
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But as Cecilia Kang notes over at the Washington Post, the new policies have critics worried – not least because the new policies will not come with an opt-out provision. A user signing up for Gmail, might not know the "content of his or her messages could affect the experience on seemingly unrelated Web sites such as YouTube," Kang writes.
And plenty of lawmakers agree.
"The lack of opt-out means users cannot pick and choose which data they want integrated into their Google profiles," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, wrote this week in a blog post (hat tip to Politico). "Private email messages might contain any number of personal, embarrassing or otherwise damaging information, and Google's attempts to amplify and contextualize this information through targeted ads, maps suggestions or calendar reminders could have negative consequences for users."
Over at Computerworld, Barbara Krasnoff points out that the new policies will be of particular interest to owners of devices such as the Galaxy Nexus smart phone, "which is pretty much useless outside of the Google netverse." Galaxy Nexus owner with a strong objection to the recent changes instituted by Google? Well, you're in trouble.
"I must admit, the idea of being completely unable to opt out of specific privacy issues has me very troubled," Krasnoff writes. "My immediate reaction is to read Google's policies, check out some of the more knowledgeable commentators on the subject, and if I find that I do agree with those privacy activists who believe that Google has stepped too far over the line, to join those hoping to pressure the company to alter its new policy."