Google should come clean

While Google is resisting turning over search records, what they should really be doing is telling its users:

  • how Google identifies a particular user
  • exactly what information is collected
  • how the information is collected
  • how long the information is retained
  • what the information is used for
  • whether such information is ever disclosed to third parties and if so under what restrictions, if any

  • While Google posts its privacy policy, the contents are very general and don’t provide much detail. For example, does Google only use cookies to associate search requests with a particular person/computer or does it also pull other identifiers (such as a network card MAC address, or CPU serial number, or unique Windows ID number) particularly when a browser has a Google tool bar installed? If other identifiers are used then simply deleting cookies form time to time won’t do much to protect a user’s privacy. Also, does Google keep such information in anonymous form or does it combine it with other personal information particularly when a user has logged into another Google service?