This weekend, Privacy International released a report A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies. In this report, Privacy International gives Google the lowest rating ‘Hostile to Privacy.’
There seems to be some kind of odd He said / She said type of argument brewing. From an AP article Watchdog group slams Google on privacy by Michael Liedtke
Privacy International’s take
Privacy International contacted Google earlier this month, but didn’t receive a response, said Simon Davies, the group’s director.
Nicole Wong, Google’s deputy general counsel.
“It’s a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them.”
After this initial exchange, Privacy International states that Google is running a smear campaign against it.
Per a post on Privacy International’s website, An Open Letter to Google from Simon Davies:
I am writing to express my concern not just at this unfortunate result, but also at communications between Google Inc and members of the media during the period immediately prior to publication of our report. Two European journalists have independently told us that Google representatives have contacted them with the claim that “Privacy International has a conflict of interest regarding Microsoft”. I presume this was motivated because Microsoft scored an overall better result than Google in the rankings.
So something doesn’t sound right. Privacy International tried to contact Google but received no response. Google is disappointed that the report was published before they could review their policies with them. If both parties wanted to get in contact with each other, why couldn’t they manage it?
Matt Cutts of Google outlines his response to the Privacy report in his blog with Why I disagree with Privacy International. In his post he outlines the reasons he thinks the report is flawed.
Donna Bogatin states she doesn’t believe Google’s answer rings true in her post Google is wrong on consumer privacy. Donna reviews Matt’s points and details why she refutes Matt’s post.
There are quite a few blog posts on the Internet from all sides – Google does do evil, Google is not getting a fair shake, or basically no one cares. This confirms some people’s ideas that Google is indeed evil, some question the methodology and validity of the report and others are ambivalent and think in the end it doesn’t matter.
I believe the concerns addressed by this report are legitimate. In this day of global economy and companies storing data about us, security and privacy should be on everyone’s mind. These issues do need to get addressed.
I am not sure what the outcome of this issue between Google and Privacy International is going to be, but for some reason I have a feeling that we don’t know all of the story.