Google sued for Android refund over privacy shakeup

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Google sued for Android refund over privacy shakeup

Postby brinkley1988 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:46 am

Alex Hanff, a prominent privacy campaigner based in Lancaster, has filed a claim at the small claims court for around £400 to replace his HTC Desire.

The claim argues that Google’s new privacy policy, which affects all Android users, represents and unfair change in contract terms and will force Mr Hanff to buy a new smartphone.

“The changes are a significant infringement of my right to privacy and I do not consent to Google being able to use my data in such a way,” he said.

Google’s new policy means user data from more than 60 of its services will be pooled to create a single profile for each of its hundreds of millions of users. By matching data from search histories, Gmail and YouTube, among dozens more services, the firm will be able to infer more about users’ interests and target advertising more accurately.

Yesterday the French privacy regulator called on Google to halt the project for the second time, expressing “strong doubts” it was “lawful”. The French were asked to investigate the new policy on behalf of a group of European privacy regulators, including Britain’s Information Commissioner.

“Rather than promoting transparency, the terms of the new policy and the fact that Google claims publicly that it will combine data across services raises fears about Google’s actual practices,” the French regulator said in a letter to Google's CEO Larry Page.

“Our preliminary investigation shows that it is extremely difficult to know exactly which data is combined between which services for which purposes, even for trained privacy professionals.”

A group of state Attorneys General in the United States has also called for data pooling, which was announced in January, to be postponed.

“They’ve been asked to suspend the changes several times, and Google keeps telling the regulators where to go,” said Mr Hanff, who was previously closely involved in the campaign against Phorm, an advertising company that aim to profile web browsing by doing deals with broadband providers.

“They’ve basically stuck two fingers up,” he added. "Hopefully my case will open an avenue for other consumers to take similar action."

Google declined to comment on Mr Hanff's case specifically. It said Android users concerned by the new privacy policy could not log in to their Google account and still use their handset for calls and texts.

"This updated privacy policy, like the old privacy policy, affects users signed into their Google Accounts on Android phones, the same way as users signed into their Google Accounts from a desktop computer. Otherwise, the change will not have any significant impact on users of Android phones, and we are not collecting any new or additional data about Android users in connection with this change.

"Users can choose not to log into an Android phone with a Google Account and still use it to place phone calls, send text messages, browse the web, and use certain Google applications that do not require account authentication such as Google Maps. Some Google applications such as Android Market and Gmail require authentication with a Google Account." free iphone games

Mr Hanff said that he will replace his Android device with a Windows Phone smartphone.

“There’s not much choice but I wouldn’t want to be subject to Apple’s privacy policy and Microsoft’s seems the least threatening at the moment,” he said.
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