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Google's latest ad push gives LONE LAWMAKER the creeps

We knew it was quiet on Capitol Hill, but still...

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google faces little opposition to its plans to plaster ads with user profile names and photos since it announced the move late last week.

A lone lawmaker in the US has expressed concern about Google's upcoming changes to its terms of service, which will be implemented on 11 November.

Senator Ed Markey penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission - which is currently out of action due to the US government shutdown - in which he warned the watchdog that Google should make it clear to users that their data is being scraped to sell ads.

"Without users' explicit permission, Google should not take consumer posts and turn them into product endorsements," Markey said, according to the Washington Post.

But he appears to have failed to notice that Google has covered its bases a little better than in its inglorious past. The company is now well-versed in public outrage against its terms-of-service tweaks.

So much so, that Mountain View is running heavy trials on the forthcoming changes to its users by displaying a prominent banner on its services telling them their faces will soon be used to shift personalised ads – in much the way that other web outfits such as LinkedIn and Facebook already use them.

Google is being up front about the overhaul, which is designed to make more money out of user profiles created in the company's flailing free content ad network - Google+.

The company has injected Google+ into its services across the net to better exploit targeted advertising.

Google has insisted it will respect its users' sensibilities – which means it won't suddenly begin displaying everyone's faces in its ads. That said, anyone with a Google+ profile (roughly 500 million people) could be co-opted into the company's so-called "shared endorsements" if they fail to check their privacy settings.

In December last year, the company confirmed that the majority of those users signed up to Google+ didn't actually interact with it, so the appearance of their faces in ads might in fact come as a bit of a shock to some people.

Markey is questioning whether the latest changes violate an earlier privacy settlement to which Google had agreed with the FTC.

The Register contacted the senator's office, but at time of writing it hadn't returned our request for comment.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that some users are protesting against Google's latest effort to make tons more cash out of its online advertising empire by changing their Google+ profile pictures to display the face of Google chairman Eric "get right up to the creepy line" Schmidt. ®

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