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36 attorneys general question Google's new privacy policy

updated 05:40 pm EST, Thu February 23, 2012

Demand answers by February 29

Attorneys general from 36 states have sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page raising questions over the company's new unified privacy policy. In it, the state watchdogs expressed concern over both the potential invasion of privacy and the increased risk of identity theft. They have asked for a response no later than next Wednesday, a day before Google's now policy is set to become effective.

Google first announced its proposed privacy policy on January 24. Under the new policy, personal information from 70 Google sites and services would be consolidated under one global privacy initiative. The company claimed that a unified policy would give consumers a "simpler, more intuitive Google experience," and also could be used to provide its users with "more relevant ads."

Reaction from governmental regulatory agencies worldwide was largely negative. Almost immediately after Google announced the new policy, US lawmakers sent a letter to Google asking pointed questions about it, including the ability of consumers to easily opt out. Google did respond, but in the eyes of legislators, including California representative Mary Bono Mack, the answers were not "very forthcoming."

In early February, the European Union (EU) sent a letter to Google asking it to hold off on implementing the new policy. The company declined and said it still planned to roll out the new policy as of March 1.

The Attorneys general, in their letter that was sent to Google yesterday, expressed concern that Google's consolidated personal data profiles could become a target for hackers and privacy thieves. The lawyers also were worried that Android smartphone users were left will few options. If they did not agree to Google's new terms, then they would be forced to continuously and repeatedly log-in to use their phones' full functionality.

The states and territories that jointly sent the letter to Google were Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, and Washington. [via The Verge]

By Electronista Staff
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