Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/24/google_privacy_poll/

77% of Google users don't know it records personal data

Stat of the week

By Andrew Orlowski

Posted in Media, 24th January 2006 21:20 GMT

More than three quarters of web surfers don't realize Google records and stores information that may identify them, results of a new opinion poll show.

The phone poll, which sampled over 1000 internet users, was conducted by the Ponemon Institute following the DoJ subpoenas last week.

This suggests that the battle for internet privacy is far from over.

Google maintains a lifetime cookie that expires in 2038, and records the user's IP address. But more recently it has begun to integrate services which record the user's personal search history, email, shopping habits, and social contacts. After first promising not to tie its email service to its search service, Google went ahead and opted its users in anyway. It's all part of CEO Eric Schmidt's promise to create a "Google that knows more about you".

The conundrum for Google now is does it come clean with the data it stores about users, or does it simply hope that the majority of users don't care?

In the survey, 56 per cent of users said Google should not turn over information to the Government, and only 14 per cent were happy for Google to turn over information even in criminal cases. ®