Feeds

Google proposes 'crumbled cookies' in privacy pledge

Willing to break up harvested user information

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has proposed breaking up the information gathered on users of its services in order to better preserve their privacy. The company told the US Senate that it was investigating the measure after consultation with privacy groups.

The company made the claim in a submission to the Senate's investigation of its proposed $3.1bn acquisition of online advertising giant DoubleClick. The Senate is probing the deal over widely-held fears that it would create an online advertising monopoly, and that the huge amount of information held by the combined company could lead to privacy breaches.

Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond made a written submission to the Senate outlining some of the action the company proposed to take to alleviate privacy fears.

One proposal, according to Reuters news agency, was for a 'crumbled cookie', which would be a way of storing personal information separately without identifying it all as coming from one person or machine.

"We have consulted with numerous privacy, consumer and industry groups in developing these ideas and have endeavoured to be responsive to their concerns," he wrote in his submission, according to Reuters.

After the hearing, at which he also gave oral evidence, Drummond told reporters that he thought it was unlikely that the Government would impose any conditions or controls on the deal.

Microsoft also appeared at the hearing, and General Counsel Brad Smith told Senators that the deal would put Google in control of 80 per cent of the market for both text and banner adverts on the internet.

Google's Drummond countered with the argument that if the market were a monopoly, Microsoft itself would not have paid $6bn for DoubleClick competitor aQuantive, a purchase the company announced in May this year.

Google said at the hearing that it made a priority of privacy, but the company has been in the headlines this week over an alleged security breach in its Gmail internet email service. A security researcher called Petko Petkov said that he had found a way to hack the Gmail system and divert incoming emails to another mail account.

Google's privacy policies have been under fire in recent months. It announced earlier this year that it would delete identifying information connecting people to their Google internet searches after 18 to 24 months.

That provoked an outcry from users and privacy activists who had not been aware that such logs had been kept indefinitely. The company reduced the term to 18 months but still faces opposition from privacy activists who believe that the data should not be kept.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.