“This not only raises personal privacy issues, but it makes the collected personal information an attractive target for hackers and identity thieves,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “Google has not given users a real choice to participate and the policy makes it practically impossible to opt out, short of exiting all Google services,” Jepsen said.
In a letter to Larry Page, Google’s chief executive officer, the attorneys general outlined their issues and requested a meeting with the company as soon as possible to “work toward a solution that will best protect the privacy needs of those who use Google’s products.”
The attorneys general said Google’s policy appears to invade consumer privacy by automatically sharing personal information consumers provide for one Google product, such as Gmail and YouTube, with all Google products.
For most users, opting out of all Google products and services would not be a practical choice because of the expense involved. For example, users who rely on Google products for their business or government services – uses that Google has actively promoted – may need to move their entire operations to different platforms to avoid expanded information sharing, the attorneys general said.
In Connecticut, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Fitzsimmons, head of the Data Privacy Task Force, is handling this issue for the Attorney General with Associate Attorney General Perry Zinn-Rowthorn.