GOOGLE’S NEW POLICY ALLOWS IT TO TRACK YOU LIKE NEVER BEFORE (BUT HERE’S HOW TO FIX IT)

Google

[10/25/16]  For years, Google’s privacy policy essentially prohibited the company from running ads targeting users based off of activity in its popular Gmail platform – meaning that if you sent someone an email about, say, groceries, you would not then necessarily encounter an advertisement about groceries on another platform or website.

But all of that changed during the summer of 2016, when Google deleted a line in its privacy policy, thus allowing it to target users with ads across its platforms and on websites based on Gmail email activity.

ProPublica reported on the change Oct. 21, noting that Google could now, if it wanted to, “build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.”

“The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous,” ProPublica reported. “In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.”

New Gmail users automatically agree to the policy when they sign up, while old Gmail users must opt-in.

The controversy surrounds Google’s advertising service, DoubleClick, which allows companies to target customers with ads on websites (through the use of cookies).

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