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And here’s the bitter pill: don’t like it? Tough. If you have a smartphone running an Android system, all Android phones were automatically placed under the new policy. To the consumer this means that if you do not like the new policy, your options are to deal with it, switch to non-Google services which do not typically run well on the Android system, or to get another phone. The latter option will normally require terminating your phone service and paying an early-termination fee.
Even if Google’s change doesn’t violate American laws, foreign authorities have been adamant that the changes violate European transparency and privacy laws. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding of the European Commission has been particularly outspoken about her doubts of the changes’ legality. Other members have warned Google of the same, requesting a delay in the policies implementation. None was granted.
Although the legality of Google’s new policy remains unresolved, the question Google really should also be asking is whether the policy is really in its best interest. Behavioral privacy is something highly valued by the vast majority of consumers. Although Google expects its data to be more lucrative and hopes to tap the unused potential of its data goldmine, to simply force consumers to either shut up or get out is not the right policy, particularly where a considerable amount of consumer privacy may be at stake. Only time will tell whether Google’s risk will pay off.
In the mean time, Google was right about at least one thing: this stuff matters.
– Tim Van Hal
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