image thumb15 Opinion: Will You Compromise Your Privacy For “Ice Cream”?

If only cartoons could bring about positive changes from companies, especially in connection to those nagging privacy issues. On Thursday the New York Times Square ran a cartoon of Google chief in an ice cream truck spying on children. Well that got almost an immediate response from Google; a simplified and update privacy policy.

I am not buying this in any way for any reason. But I will come to it towards the end of the post and in the meantime lets focus on what Google had to say. Mike Yang, Google’s Associate general counsel mentioned the simplification of the privacy policy and that simplification only comes to the wordings. He stated:

…cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits so people can understand them more easily…

Other than that the search goliath added all relevant information to help pages of its products. Which in my opinion is clever and a great relief for users who can now find all relevant information centered on particular product pages instead of it being concentrated in some clouded privacy policy center.

I guess the search provider took the ice cream wielding Eric Schmidt roaming the neighborhood in an ice cream truck, spying kids and sharing with them their parents internet activity. It was funny and it quite appropriately defines the strategy of many Internet entities trying to grab more users.

As I stated this doesn’t change my opinion on privacy online, irrespective if it’s about Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. I bid adieu my privacy when I first signed up for an email account, fully aware that I am entrusting a lot of private information to machines and a person who manages and controls everything. Cut the slack of firms promising me absolute privacy because for me absolute privacy doesn’t exist anymore, I might be wrong and I would love to have your opinion on this.

What makes me believe this is no different. You comment online, you search, share a video or a photo and every time you do so you are leaving a footprint. Think of all those comments you have left on the countless blogs, sites, etc, do you even remember those sites? Do you have any idea of how many comments you made so far? Maybe you do, but I don’t and I bet many others don’t either. Each of these comments are stored somewhere and even if you decide to push yourself a hundred years back by eradicating your online self, chances are there will be something about you, something as minute as an opinion would be left there and no one has an idea for how long?

I am being skeptical as always but I firmly believe in my opinion. Oh and then there’s Eric Schmidt’s advice of the century: change your name to start fresh if you need a new life. Well sounds good, but why is it so impossible for firms to delete my online activity on their particular service? I guess consumers mean nothing to these firms who are adamant at controlling or at least monitoring every activity. I might be wrong, but that’s where the world is heading over to or maybe it already has.

The question is will you sell your privacy for ice cream?