Google Responds to Congress: we aren’t NebuAd

12 Aug

Recently Congress has been investigating the user’s privacy with the growingly pervasive ‘opt-out’ advertising programs such as those run by NebuAd. The Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter on August 1 to Microsoft, Google, AOL  and a number of other companies, asking for information on whether or not personal data had been collected, what restrictions were placed on the collection and how the information was used. The companies were given until August 8 to respond.

 

NebuAd’s deep packet inspection was the lightning rod that drew increased congressional scrutiny and Google recognized this and promised to place its answer online for open inspection.

Google has since posted its reply. Google  by categorically stating that it does not engage in deep packet inspection while serving advertising and posits that most other advertisers do not as well.  According to the company, Google’s privacy policy is founded on three principles: providing transparency, choice, and security.

Google goes on  to say that it has been an active participant in the FTC  initiative to develop privacy principles and hopes that these principles “will be adopted widely by the online advertising industry and will serve as a model for industry self-regulation in jurisdictions beyond the United States.” The letter concludes with a  pledge to work with to create a uniform federal privacy law.

 

Other Google points:

 

  • Google’s online search advertising serving while contextual, do not make use of web browser history, and that it maintains no such database. 

 

  • The  DoubleClick merger Google intends to integrate some of that company’s technology into its own products to tailor ads more effectively. Users can opt out of this via a single option which will control a person’s opt-out status for all of the websites within Google’s network. 

 

  • Data retention: Google does not require any personally identifiable information (PII) to be provided and retains only standard server log information and/or cookie ID. Google anonymizes all search log data after 18 months.

 

 

Do no evil? You decide.

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