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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Google’s tracking shoppers sparks a federal privacy complaint

A prominent privacy rights watchdog is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a new Google advertising program that ties consumers’ online behavior to their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.

The legal complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to be filed with the FTC on Monday, alleges that Google is newly gaining access to a trove of highly sensitive information -- the credit and debit card purchase records of the majority of U.S. consumers -- without revealing how they got the information or giving consumers meaningful ways to opt out. Moreover, the group claims that the search giant is relying on a secretive technical method to protect the data -- a method that should be audited by outsiders and is likely vulnerable to hacks or other data breaches.

“Google is seeking to extend its dominance from the online world to the real, offline world, and the FTC really needs to look at that,” said Marc Rotenberg, the organization’s executive director.

Google called its advertising approach "common" and said it had "invested in building a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users' data remains private, secure and anonymous."

The Washington Post detailed Google's program, Store Sales Measurement, in May. Executives have hailed it as a “revolutionary” breakthrough in advertisers’ abilities to track consumer behavior.

More here


Anonymous said...

If a product or service is free, YOU are the product.

Convenience vs. privacy. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

The WalMart app that gives you a price guarantee and refund, tracks your every move. It will go off and send you a marketing message every time you get near a WalMart. The app also tracks you in their stores and where you stop in the aisles. Then you get Walmart ads on your cell phone that are for items at, or near, where you stopped in the aisles. You have to agree to the tracking to install the app (to get the guarantee and refunds). Cool, huh? Maybe not.....

Anonymous said...

On an Android phone, turn off the location feature until you need it for something, then turn it off. Leaving the location feature on leaves you open to constant tracking by not only Google, but other apps, as well.