Google News is a search engine, so the results it produces can be extremely misleading.
And that is where we come in.
Google News has been around since 2007, and is a massive data source.
Google says it is “the leading source for information about the news and events of the day” and the company has been using it to produce the headlines of the news.
But there are problems.
The company’s terms of service include a clause that says: “You may not modify, copy, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, dissemble, or create derivative works of the information provided.”
Google has been trying to address this, but it has been limited to terms that explicitly forbid third-party software.
Google’s terms also state that “We reserve the right to disclose information provided by us for the purposes of compliance with applicable law”.
But what do those laws actually cover?
“The law says that Google has a duty to protect your privacy,” says Chris Evans, senior research manager at the Digital Rights Ireland (DRI), a group that promotes consumer data protection.
“What we’re seeing is that it’s not limited to that obligation.
The law doesn’t really cover what you’re doing.
It’s really a matter of what your expectations are of what you should be doing with your data.”
Google’s Terms of Service also say: “We may share your personal information with third parties to facilitate our business or to administer and improve our services.”
But what does that mean?
How does Google know you’re not breaching the privacy of third parties?
Evans explains: “Google can look at the data, it can look over your browsing history, it may look at your mobile location data, you can see the apps that you’re using and they can see where you’re going and where you’ve been and it may even tell you if you’ve done something that might be unlawful.”
Google is also required to provide users with an opt-out system.
If your data is shared with a third party, you must agree not to share that data with that third party.
And if you’re a Google customer, you are asked to provide your consent to sharing your data with Google.
But what about sharing data with other services, such as social media?
How can that be done without your consent?
Evans says that’s a very grey area: “It’s hard to define what Google is asking for.
There are different terms that people might expect to be able to ask for.
And in fact, there are multiple terms that Google can use to request that information.”
But if you ask Google to share your data for the “purpose of providing Google services”, what does Google expect that you will do with that information?
And if the data is being used for other purposes, what about the privacy implications?
Evans argues that Google’s use of the terms “the purpose of providing” is the key issue.
“Google has got to understand that if it’s going to ask people to give their personal information to Google, that information has to be about Google.
It has to have some value.”
Google does, however, make a distinction between the “specific” information that you provide when you register to use its services and information that it collects from your Google account.
“If you are logged into your Google Account, then your information is about your Google Activity,” Evans says.
“Your information is not about your location, your information about your search history, your location history, the things you’ve searched for in the past, things that you’ve saved in Google.”
Evans says it’s important to remember that Google is a “commercial data processor”, and is not required to share data about you with third party services.
He explains that if Google wants to use data to improve the experience of its services, that would be fine, but if Google needs to provide that information for the purpose of improving the product, that’s not good enough.
“There are a number of privacy laws that have been introduced to protect the privacy rights of users.
And those are very important, but there’s a lot of confusion about what those laws really mean,” Evans explains.
“It is possible that Google does not share data that it wants, that it does not need, that its partners have no right to do, but that is not good.”
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